One of the hooks about Seventh-Day Adventism is the fear of leaving. I firmly believe that many would freely leave Adventism were it not for this binding them to it. It is one of their most effective retention tactics.
I myself was afraid of receiving the Mark of the Beast when I started considering a “Sunday Keeping” Church. Careful study of the New Covenant broke me of that fear as it has many others, but not all take the time to do this and instead simply believe what they were taught.
A story that broke a while back on internet circles is the photos of a training event held at Camp Au Sable in Michigan. This isn’t anything that happened recently, the story is five years old in fact. But it does portray a picture of the SDA headspace in a way words cannot. Some of the pictures you are about to see look shocking, but bear in mind that none of these Children are in any physical danger.
I’m convinced that this is simply a tasteless exercise authorized by someone who clearly forgot that the internet is a thing. I believe their claim that nobody is actually being hurt and am glad for that. If you want to check out the public statement that one of their staff released online you can find it HERE.
What I am wanting to point out though is the reason that SDA would feel that such training is necessary. Parents paid for their children to go to this summer camp, and part of that package deal was some end times firing squad training.
To understand this, it is important to know that SDA believe when ‘probation’ closes many of the plagues detailed in Revelation will begin to pour out on upon all the “Sunday Keepers”. This they teach makes us “Sunday Keepers” angry, at which point we of course march on all the Adventists and begin to murder them. I remember being taught that SDA would have to hide in the mountains and grow our own food to be safe.
However bizarre that may sound to you, understand this is what they honestly believe. So much so that they apparently pay to have their children trained to interact with such an environment. Imagine if you genuinely believed that at any moment your closest friends and family would turn on you and seek to decapitate you and your children. This is their headspace, remember in the SDA eschatology all of these things are continually right around the corner. And if you slip up and fail probation, then you too will be plagued and will start murdering your own family. It’s a gruesome and oppressive burden to bear.
It’s an unnecessary burden too, the Bible actually teaches great hope and comfort for the End Times. Let me show you what I am talking about:
Simply put, Jesus is in charge
He says it is finished
Jesus says not to worry
Jesus teaches that our Salvation is assured in himself
Obviously trusting in Jesus just isn’t enough for the SDA, we have to train our children to be shot too!
No matter what tradition you hold to on Eschatology, you need to hold to it in a way that allows all scripture to be true, including Gospel texts like the ones that I posted above. Those in Christ need have no fear of the mark of the beast, or even in world events. Christ has completed his work and we rest in him. Carnal things like keeping the Sabbath won’t save or seal anyone.
At the core of the SDA false gospel is not so much the fear of Sunday Keepers murdering you, but it is that you yourself will fall and start to murder your friends and relatives should you fail to keep the law perfectly after the close of probation. As most of my readers know, Ellen White teaches that you must keep the law without a mediator during this period.
“Those who are living upon the earth when the intercession of Christ shall cease in the sanctuary above are to stand in the sight of a holy God without a mediator. Their robes must be spotless, their characters must be purified from sin by the blood of sprinkling. Through the grace of God and their own diligent effort they must be conquerors in the battle with evil. While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth.” The Great Controversy, Pg. 425 Ellen White
In the SDA headspace, if you fail to keep the law after Jesus stops covering your sins that is it for you. You are cut off and have the mark of the beast. And those with the mark will be hunting down Adventists and murdering them. If you don’t want that to be you, then you better shape up and start keeping the Sabbath better.
Pro-Tip: Switching to a vegetarian diet is supposed to help too.
Conversely, in the Biblical Gospel we find comfort for our soul and troubled consciences. We find our rest in Christ, and can trust in him only. We are not to live in fear of the end times in any respect. There is no little factoid about the end times that will help you to be extra saved. Keeping the Sabbath won’t help you make it, neither will stocking up on food or ammo.
Training your children for the firing squad is also useless, and more than a little creepy!
All we can do is repent and believe the Gospel every single day. Jesus has taken care of all for us, even the latter days.