The Pre-Advent Judgment 4: Did Christ's Ministry End at the Cross?


The second aspect that must be considered is that the pre-Advent judgment teaches that when the judgment began Jesus began a special work in heaven. That special work is the work of “cleansing the sanctuary.” During this time not only the wicked but also the righteous are said to be judged.[1] This judgment then is said to determine the fate of everyone who has ever lived. Opponents of the pre-Advent judgment often critique this doctrine by saying that it teaches that Christ work was not completed on the cross.

“We believe that the Bible teaches that the work of Christ is a finished work—finished on the cross”[2] they say. They then quote Jesus’ words just before His death when He says, “It is finished.”[3] According to this critique, the death of Christ marked the end of Christ’s ministry. Everything was fulfilled at the cross, therefore, how can we say that Christ began another phase of His ministry in 1844? 


While I agree that Christ’s work of salvation was finished at the cross and that nothing more is needed for the salvation of man, several texts can help us see that Christ’s ministry did not, as is often asserted, end at the cross. For starters, Paul tells us that “…if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”[4] Therefore, it was not sufficient that Christ died for us, but He had to be raised again. Had Christ not risen, His work of redemption would have been incomplete and we are “still in [our] sins” and thus, “of all people most to be pitied.”[5] Evangelical Christian evangelist Billy Graham also agrees that Christ’s ministry did not end at the cross. In his book, The Holy Spirit, Graham says, “Quite clearly Jesus did not say that His death on the cross would mark the cessation of His ministry. The night before His death He repeatedly told the disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit.”[6] Christ not only sent us the Holy Spirit, He also “help[s] those who are being tempted” and “rescues the godly from trials.”[7] In addition to all of this, the ministry of Jesus would also be incomplete without the second coming. With this evidence in mind, I suggest that although Christ’s sacrifice is all-sufficient for man’s salvation, it is not unbiblical to teach that His ministry was not completed at the cross.[8]


Further Reading: Did Jesus Complete the Atonement on the Cross?



[1] “For thousands of years, from the times of the tabernacle in the wilderness until today, the Jews celebrated the cleansing of the sanctuary (Yom Kippur) – the Day of Atonement – as the great judgment day.” Clifford Goldstein, 1844 Made Simple [Boise: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1988], 39. Thus, the cleansing of the sanctuary and the judgment are the same event.
[2] James E. Bear, “Bible and Modern Religions, Part 1 :The Seventh-Day Adventists,” ATLA Religion Database [1956]: 11, http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.southern.edu:2048/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=18fbeee8-6294-4b74-8d94-1d0a16d2b8f9%40sessionmgr10&vid=4&hid=24 [accessed April 1, 2012].
[3] John 19:30.
[4] 1 Cor. 15:14.
[5] 1 Cor. 15:17, 19.
[6] Billy Graham, The Holy Spirit: Activating God’s Power in Your Life [W Publishing Group, 1988], 71.
[7] Heb. 2:18., 2 Pet. 2:9.
[8] It is however, unbiblical and heretical to teach that Christ’s sacrifice was not enough and that He needs to “do more” in order to save us. Hebrews is clear “Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.” Heb. 7:27. Italics mine.

Comments