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Freed 1 Spencer Freed Cosmin Ritivoiu English 102 4 February 2014 The Adventist View of Hell An Adventist canvasser

was having a conversation about God with an atheist. I dont understand Seventh-day Adventists, or Christians for that matter, said the atheist. How can you believe in a loving God that burns people forever in hell? This is an erroneous conception of Adventist doctrine. In the 28 Fundamental Beliefs of the Adventist church it says, Fire from God will consume them [wicked] and cleanse the earth. The universe will thus be freed of sin and sinners forever (28 Fundamental 11). Unlike most Protestants, Adventists dont believe in eternal hell fire. Adventists believe that there will be a necessary and complete destruction of the wicked at the end of the millennium. It is an understandable misconception that Adventists believe in eternal hell fire. The first reason for this misconception is that a majority of Protestantsa category that Adventists fall underbelieve this doctrine. The second reason has to do with Adventisms source of doctrine. Seventh-day Adventists accept the Bible as the only source of our beliefs (28 Fundamental 2). Because of Adventisms regard of the

Freed Bible, verses like Revelation 20:10 seem to reflect the view of the church. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever (King James Version Rev 20.10). The fact that this verse seems to refer to eternal hell fire incorrectly implies that Adventists believe in this doctrine as well. Although verses like this seem to prove the doctrine of an eternal hell, Adventists compares scripture with scripture to produce their doctrines. Annihilationism is clearly taught throughout the scriptures. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away. (King James Version Ps 37.10, 20) This verse shows that the wicked will be destroyed completely. This is also found in Malachi 4:1. For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble it shall leave them neither root nor branch. Adventists believe these verses to mean that hell will completely destroy the wicked.

Freed Adventists also differ in the definition of hell. Hell is not a place, but rather an event in time. For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom; they shall be brought out on the day of wrath (New King James Version Job 21.30). This day of wrath is also referred to as a day of judgment. But the heavens and the earth [are] reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men (2 Pet 3.7). Adventists believe that this Day of Judgment is after the millennium, which is when the righteous return to earth (Rev 20). The 28

Fundamental Beliefs states, The millennium is the thousand-year reign of Christ with His saints in heaven between the first and second resurrections. During this time the wicked dead will be judged (28 Fundamental 11). After this 1000 years, as Adventist prophet and author Ellen White writes, The Almighty breathed from his high throne, on the city, a breath of devouring fire, which came down on them, and burnt them up, root and branch (Little flock 11). Hell starts at the millennium. Adventists also believe that this fire doesnt last forever, although some verses, like the one mentioned earlier in this paper, seem to say otherwise. To explain verses like Revelation 14:11, 20:10, and Matthew 25:41, a biblical interpretation of the phrase forever and ever and its equivalents must be established. These phrases refer to a length of time. The

Freed Psalmist David wrote, I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever (Ps 89.1). It was said of Noah that he was in the belly of the fish forever (Jon 2.6). Obviously, David is not still singing and Jonah is not rotting in a fishs stomach. Forever ended at some point. Sodom and Gomorrah were said to have been destroyed with an everlasting fire (Jude 7), yet these ancient cities arent burning till this day. These phrases instead refer to a length of time. Another reason that Adventists dont believe in eternal hell fire is based on the perception of the nature of man. Until that day [Christs Second Coming] death is an unconscious state for all people (28 Fundamental 11). One of the supporting verses for this belief is found in Ecclesiastes 9:5. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten (Ecc 9.5). According to this verse, when a person dies, he or she is no more. Contrary to Satans lie that Ye shall not surely die (Gen 3.4), humans are mortal. Therefore, it would be irrational to suggest that humans could survive for eternity in hell. Not only does the mortality of man defeat the idea of an eternal punishment in hell, but the character of God and the purpose of hell are contrary as well. God is love (1 John 4.8), not a tormenting tyrant. As I live, saith the Lord God, I

Freed have no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezk 33.11a). God will repay each person according to what they have done (New International Version Rom 6.2). Adventists believe that if God is a righteous judge, He would not burn Hitler as long as the kid who didnt say sorry for stealing a candy bar. The exact length of time that each person suffers is not known; however, it is believed that there will be a difference in the time spent in hell. "And then he shall reward every man according to his works (King James Version Matt 16.27). A reward does not necessarily refer to something good. Instead, a reward is simply the deserved result of actions. Each sinner will be rewarded with a different amount suffering based on the amount and severity of their sin. Although God does not take pleasure in the destruction of the wicked, He understands its necessity. For the wages of sin is death (Rom 6.23). If the wicked believeth in him, they should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3.16). The converse is also true. He who does not believe in Him will perish. The reason for this is the eradication of sin. Jesus illustrates this point in the parable of the wheat and the tares. When the harvest comes, the wheat and the tares representative of the righteous and wicked (Matt 13.38)are divided, and the owner says, First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into

Freed my barn (Matt 13.30). This is Gods method for ridding of sin. Ellen White writes,

God has given to men a declaration of His character, and of His method of dealing with sin. All the wicked will he destroy. Psalm 145:20. Yet all the manifestations of retributive justice will be perfectly consistent with the character of God as a merciful, long-suffering, benevolent being. (Faith 179) The complete destruction of the wicked is Gods plan for the eradication of sin. There is a misconception that all Christians believe in an eternally burning hell. Adventists believe in the biblically based doctrine of annihilationism, or the complete destruction of the wicked. Hell starts at the end of the millennium, and ends at varying times for each person depending on the severity and amount of sin harbored. Although some verses seem to contradict this belief, a correct understanding of the term forever (Rev 14.11) and its equivalent phrases shows that the Bible is referring to a destruction that lasts forever. A correct understanding of the Seventh-day Adventist view about hell couldve cleared the atheists misconception of God and hell.