Images of judgement

A couple of weeks ago I had the awesome privilege of sharing part of my testimony of leaving Adventism with a group of ladies at church. Because I love media literacy so much, I wanted to show them how, through images and story, Adventist doctrines are taught to children. And how these beliefs shape how Adventists think, believe and relate to the world. Leaving Adventism is more than simply switching churches or denominations, it’s a complete worldview-shattering, foundation-shaking experience.

As a child, I absorbed the central importance of what Adventist call “The Law of God” through pictures.

Note: By law of God, they mean, the 10 commandments…and by 10 commandments, they really mean, the 4th commandment because they believe that Christians uphold every other commandment except the fourth (and a true Christian will uphold all 10).

Take a look at these pictures.* What message do you think a child digests when pictures like this accompany text explaining the importance of the Sabbath and keeping the 10 commandments?

The images below are usually used in adult Adventist literature to likewise convey the centrality of the 10 commandment law, but also to convey the Adventist belief that the 10 commandments are “the basis of God’s covenant with His people and the standard of God’s judgement.” (See Fundamental Belief #19)

 

Is it any wonder that when sharing with an Adventist that the Old Covenant law is obsolete (Hebrews 8:13), cancelled (Hebrews 10:9) and ended (Ephesians 2:15), the very concept is unthinkable? preposterous? absurd?

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.  And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit” (Romans 8:1-4).

*All pictures © Review & Herald Publishing Association. Used in accordance with fair use principles outlined in the U.S. copyright laws.

 

  • Joe & Jennifer Rector

    Wow, that last picture is so powerful! The Bible says we come before the judgment seat of Christ–not the 10 commandments!!! ~ Jennifer

    • Anonymous

      Jennifer, so many people I’ve talked to INSIST that the 10 commandments are the standard of judgement. Because of the way we were indoctrinated, it’s understandable, but it makes it almost impossible to reason with them about Scripture.

  • Colleen Tinker

    Delina, nice blog! Great post and pics, by the way. It’s amazing how evocative they are…I saw them all growing up; they seemed “normal”. No wonder it takes so long to emerge from that worldview! Every single thing, as you alluded above, is subtly twisted and really immersed us in darkness and despair.

    • Anonymous

      God is so amazing to have pulled us out of the reality we lived in. We were set up to deny Him and the effectiveness of His sacrifice from cradle roll. Only He could pull us out of darkness into light and new life. It’s a miracle.

  • sent2preach

    Jesus raised the bar, taking it from violation in physical action to violation in the thoughts of the heart (Matt 5:21-30). 😉 So when we talk about obsolete, cancelled, and ended, it is imperative that we also mention Christ’s announcement that He did not come to destroy the law – rather to fulfill it (Matt 5:17), and in doing so, change it’s job description. I’m not suggesting that you do, but surprisingly, a great many in evangelical fellowships today believe any use of the law to be unthinkable, preposterous, and absurd (which is why I felt compelled to leave a comment here, here’s hoping it’s received well).

    The law is definitely no longer the basis of covenant nor the standard of judgment for those under grace, but I think it warrants mentioning that it is indeed such a standard for those who aren’t. The bible declares the law to be what shuts the mouth of the whole world and leaves them guilty before God (Rom 3:19). In fleeing certain cults like SDA and even the many motivational twistings of tradition filled Churchianity, too many folks these days absolutely loathe any positive mentioning of the law, quite often out of fear or misunderstanding. When you really think about it though, this is really no different than operating under it, because whether loathing it or trying to live up to it, they’re still failing to use it rightly (1 Tim 1:8). In spite of man’s incessant ability to make it a standard of achievement that nullifies grace, the law remains a schoolmaster that brings men to Christ (Gal 3:24-25), showing them what sin is and allowing their conscience to feel both the weight of their transgression and their desperate need of a Savior’s mercy and grace.

    I would have no problem with the pictures above being used in an evangelistic manner, because we’re told in John 12:47-48 that the Word of God will indeed judge those who reject Him. While we know that Jesus is the Word and the Word is Jesus, in that passage, Jesus speaks of the Word as something besides Himself that will do the judging. In any case, it’s nothing short of mercy and loving kindness to present God’s law to the lost, allowing them (like in the first pic) to see themselves in light of it’s mirror, and them giving them the opportunity to receive and subsequently see themselves in light of His perfect sacrifice.

    • guesswho

      I understand your position, but there is not way you can know how these pictures where used in the mind of a child, and the doctrine that went with them. It’s much different than what you are talking about. It was for the believer to be judged by – for us to be measured up to… IN ORDER for us to deserve the blood of Christ.

      That being said… I believe the first chapters of Romans are addressing first the gentile who can be convicted without regard to the law, and also the Jew who is convicted also under the law … It’s drawing a contrast. Jesus set aside the Law and put Himself in its place. In Jesus we can have both the conviction for repentance and the assurance of reconciliation. His grace has the work of the Higher (more encompassing and universal) Law built in – and I don’t see a New Testament evangelism based on showing people their sins in reflection of the Israelite Law… especially not the Gentiles. The msg.. Jesus and Him Crucified.. the resurrection the proof.. It was simple. But I admire those who through ANY method go out on the street and call them in. Granted maybe the ancient people didn’t have to have “sin” spelled out for them. Maybe it was simpler then. I would still rather use the words of Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount. More convicting IMO. At any rate… I see one faction of the church so behavior focused by idolizing the 10C they miss the TRUTH.. which is a Living Jesus standing right there in front of them, being all but ignored. Then the other extreme who don’t care at all.. just wanna party and feel good with their “Jesus fix” then go live for themselves. They have not read His words.

    • Anonymous

      sent2preach – thank you for reading and taking the time to comment! Your comments are thoughtful and right on. Unfortunately, these images are shown to Adventists and potential Adventists in order illustrate the investigative judgement (unbiblical SDA pillar doctrine) which is a judgement for BELIEVERS.

      Paul says the law is righteous and good and holy…and that is all true, even if a believer does not live in relation to the law. I don’t loathe the law at all, I just think that by using it incorrectly, and misunderstanding its place and purpose, it puts people in the very bondage from which Jesus wants to set us free.

  • Michael

    Hello,

    As i was reading this some questions came to mind:

    Revelation 14:12 mentions that “patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus” is called for in the vision being depicted. My question regarding this would be: If we are truly faithful to Jesus are we in essence obeying God’s commandments?

    Revelation 12:17 states that war was made on “those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” What are these commandments being followed that identified the woman’s offspring to the dragon?

    What then are the laws that the Lord will put in our hearts and write in our minds as is referenced in Hebrews 10:16? Are these laws the same as the commandments mentioned in the other two verses above?

    What is meant by the statement God makes in Revelation 22:12 that his reward is with him and that it will be given to everyone according to what he has done? Is it that the reward being eternal salvation will be given to those that have by the grace of God genuinely accepted Jesus as their savior which in turn led them to obey God’s commandments?

    may God bless you in the journey.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for so eloquently illustrating my point, Michael. May God bless you as well.

      • Michael

        Searching for the truth is difficult when questions asked aren’t answered. The questions asked were regarding scriptures found in the bible. That truth cant be denied. What is someone to think when these types of passages are found? Once read, they can’t simply be ignored. I’m sorry but was the repy to my comment supposed to be helpful?

        • Anonymous

          Michael, if you want to have answers to your questions, you’re going to have to do your own research. Asking me is not research.

          Start with understanding the meaning of the word “commands” and “commandments.” Understand what law means (hint: it’s not the 10 commandments). Then google the judgement for rewards (for believers) or “Bema” seat.

          Reading these texts (and the ones provided in the original post) in context will help you to see the big picture vs. relying on what you’ve been told by your SDA teachers and preachers.