May 27

Second Advent and Passivity – Heavenly Temple and Passivity

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The Heavenly Temple ministry symbol provides a vehicle for understanding God?s current intention for the world. The heavenly temple ministry symbol reminds us that the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ are actively involved in human pursuits. In fact, both the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ have humanity as the emphasis of their ongoing work. They are working for humanities good within history. This understanding can also be derived from African American ?popular? theology that makes affirmation of God?s sovereignty and power over events seeking to bring them to a good end.See Soul Theology. by Henry Mitchell and Nicolas Cooper-Lewter These affirmations remind us that God is working today for our good. While other Christians use the symbol of Spirit to speak of God?s work in the world on humanities behalf, I believe that my own tradition speaks of this work being towards a resolution. This symbol is used to speak of not just the Spirit?s work, but also the deepening of the Spirit?s work as time moves forward to realization of God?s ultimate intention.

Many Adventists who teach this symbol have often only used it as an apologetic device that is meant to show that Seventh-day Adventism is a valid movement. Sometimes Adventists also fall into a trap of only using the symbol to calculate the timetable of the closing events of earth?s history. Such uses of the Heavenly Temple symbol cannot provide help in fighting passivity. The heavenly temple ministry emphasizes an increasing maturation process in the world. The Holy Spirit is working in the world largely through human agencies for the maturation of the world. This maturation includes not just individuals but also communities.Adventist theology usually follows evangelicals by emphasizing individuals and ignoring communities. I believe that this kind of thinking is not being true to where that symbol can take us. Reflection on the symbol reminds us that Christ is not working only for individuals but also for communities. The whole emphasis on individuals to the exclusion of communities can be very problematic. Another important component of the Adventist view is that humanity is being perfected by this work. This tells me that what I do changes me and makes me a better citizen of the kingdom. A final important concept is that the work must be completed for the second coming to happen.

Thus, humanity has a work to do. This work is required for the Second Advent. God does not wish to obliterate human agency. God wishes Humanity to choose the side that humanity wishes to be on. This choice is not a passive choice, but an active one. We choose by doing. We learn by doing. This is something that the Sabbath symbol teachesas well, we become more and more like God?s intention by participating in God?s intention. As we work to get our institutions and everything human to be in concert with divine will we become changed to be more like the divine. Humanity must follow where the Holy Spirit is leading. Humanity is not sitting idly waiting for the Second Advent. If the Holy Spirit is working in humanity to bring humanity to God?s current intention right now, then we are to cooperate with that working then. Thus we will not sit back while the demonic overcomes the divine in this world.

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passivity, Sanctuary Studies, Second Advent, Text Articles


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