A Perversion of Christ's First and Second Death by an SDA Minister

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Dear Reader:

What follows is a serious perversion by an SDA minister, of the first and second death as such relates to Christ. Any valid atonement for sin has to include some form of eternal death because the wages of sin is death and that means eternal death to all who do not repent.

"The soul that sinneth, it shall die an everlasting death--A DEATH FROM WHICH THERE WILL BE NO HOPE OF A RESURRECTION; and then the wrath of God will be appeased." E.G. White, Early Writings, 218.

If Christ was to atone for sin, He had to die an everlasting death in some way, because the sinner shall die an everlasting death from which there is no hope of resurrection. The wages of sin is eternal death. The way Christ died that everlasting death, was to eternally lay aside His first pre-Incarnation life. His last chance to return to that existence was at the Cross. It was there that He commended His Holy Spirit once more to the Father's keeping, and bequeathed it to us as a gift for the purpose of regeneration. He first commended that Spirit to the Father in the heavenly Sanctuary at His first death in the heavenly courts. That Spirit was again given to Christ at His baptism.

At any point before commending His Spirit to the Father just before His death on the Cross, Christ could have decided not to go through with the Cross experience of Atonement for sin, and returned to His former existence prior to His Incarnation. However, when He commended His Spirit to the Father, for the last time, just before His death on the cross, it was forever too late to return to His former life. It was then that He eternally died to that former life, and thereby paid the price of eternal death to His former existence, which death satisfied the terms of the Everlasting Covenant which demanded the eternal death of the Testator, as the price for Atoning for the sins of mankind.

Thus, it should be recognized that Christ did die the eternal death of the sinner. The death of the sinner is the second death which is an everlasting death from which there can be no hope of a resurrection [EW 218.6]. Christ died the first death in the heavenly Sanctuary before He came to this world in the form of Jesus. This was the FIRST DEATH of sleep from which HE awakened, and from which He had the privilege of going back into His former heritage. On the cross He died the second death; and this was a different death. There was no returning from this death, in the sense that He would never again be able to return to the position--the status--in exactly the same way that He had it before His Incarnation.

Any concept of the first and second death of Christ, is directly related to the Godhead and the proper identification of the Holy Spirit. Any perversion of one will necessitate the perversion of the other.

An SDA Minister's Perversion of the First and Secon Death

The same minister that perverted the Godhead (trinity) doctrine on an Internet chat group, did the same thing to the subject of the first and second death on the same chat group and on the same day. Here is an account of that minister's perversion of the subject:

" It's impossible for us to understand fully what the second death entails, because the only one who went through it and came back was Jesus. Therefore, we must carefully approach this subject, beginning by examining the passages in which the phrase "second death" is used and then exploring Jesus' experience.

The "second death" in the Bible: The phrase "second death" is found four times in the book of Revelation, and nowhere else (Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8). But these few verses reveal several important things.

First, it is God's instrument in the eradication of sin, sinners, Satan, and death from the universe (Rev. 20:10, 14; 21:8). The second death is fundamentally different from natural death. Sin and death entered into the world together, and they will be extinguished from it together. The second death is the final penalty for sin, the total and eternal elimination of evil powers and sin in God's creation.

Second, the second death is a process that brings sinful life to an end (Rev. 20:10, 14). Sinners will be completely aware of the fact that they are going through that which will separate them from God forever. This process culminates in the inevitable and inescapable cessation of the life of unrepentant sinners. It stops its work only when nothing is left of sinners and sin.

Third, the second death is characterized by pain. It harms or hurts those who experience it (Rev. 2:11). This same verb is used in the New Testament to describe physical (Luke 10:19) and spiritual (Col. 3:25) harm. In Revelation it is a synonym for torment (cf. Rev. 9:4, 5; 20:10). Those who are under the full control of evil are tormented by it (cf. Matt. 8:29). Therefore, one could suggest that the second death is experienced as both physical and spiritual anguish or agony-indescribable pain.

Finally, the second death is legally right. This death has no power or authority over the righteous (Rev. 20:6). But it does have a claim against the wicked. It isn't an expression of divine arbitrariness, but an expression of a legal penalty or retribution (cf. Col. 3:25). It serves to reveal the justice of God's judgments (cf. Rev. 19:1-3).

Jesus and the Second Death

Jesus experiencing the second death would include everything we stated above and much more.

First, He underwent excruciating physical and emotional pain. As Jesus approached the cross He "began to be sorrowful and troubled." He said to His disciples, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death" (Matt. 26:37, 38, RSV). That terminology expresses a grief, sadness, and anxiety so intense that it threatened His existence. In Gethsemane the pain was almost unbearable, and Christ's body reflected His spiritual agony as His perspiration appeared as drops of blood that fell to the ground. He would have died were it not for an angel sent from heaven who strengthened Him (Luke 22:43, 44; cf. Heb. 5:7-9).

Second, Jesus experienced the second death because it was the right penalty for the sins of the world. He bore the sins of the human race as its substitute (Mark 10:45). Here we reach the limits of this mystery. Christ experienced the second death by assuming responsibility for our sin and receiving its penalty (2 Cor. 5:21).

Third, Jesus experienced the anguish of His separation from the Father in the most real form (Matt. 27:46). He confronted the pain of God's abandonment. The anguish of His soul had a spiritual component in that He was the rejected one. This is unquestionably the second death. Of course, Christ came back to life. He was resurrected because there was no sin in Him and the tomb could not retain Him. For believers, Jesus' resurrection is an expression of God's love. For the wicked, going into eternal oblivion may well be an expression of that same love. The second death marks the extermination of sin and death from the universe. Because Jesus paid the penalty for our sin, our destiny is communion with God and the Lamb throughout eternity, achieved for all who believe in Him through His death and resurrection." End of minister's statement.

Addendum note by Ron Beaulieu

The above account of the first and second death of Christ makes no provision for any eternal death which was the wages of sin. Neither does the trinity doctrine make any provision for such, for according to that heresy, Christ merely spent three days in the tomb and arouse again to return to heaven and be as He has always existed prior to the Atonement. This violates every principle of the Everlasting Covenant regarding the Atonement and the Sanctuary Service.

The Trinity doctrine says that only the humanity of Christ died on the cross, and even that was not an eternal death because Christ arouse again in three days. Ellen White also attests that only the humanity of Christ died. That is true. So what is the difference? The difference is that the Trinity doctrine does not teach that anything concerning Christ died the eternal death of the sinner. Ellen White and Scripture does teach such.

Christ died eternally to His former, pre-Incarnation life. If that is not so, and if any teaching, such as the Trinity doctrine, teaches otherwise, then there has been no atonement for sin. The Atonement is thus GONE. The Sanctuary Message is thus GONE. That is what the trinity error achieves. That is the greatest heresy known to Christianity. That is the Omega heresy.

Every member of the SDA church pays homage to this greatest of heresies, when he/she pays homage to the baptismal vows because they thereby pledge belief in the 27 Fundamental Beliefs of the SDA Church, and on p. 61 of the book defining those 27 Fundamentals, the trinity heresy is taught. Some are doing this unknowingly. Some are doing it knowingly.

Ron Beaulieu