The Seventh-day Adventist Church, founded in the U.S. during the mid-19th century, is a Christian denomination that is strongly Millennialist, meaning that the group believes that the second coming of Jesus Christ is near, and many of its core beliefs reflect this. Although Adventists are Protestants, many of their religious views are idiosyncratic and specific to the denomination. Today, this Millennialist denomination has millions of members in more than 200 countries.
The Sabbath and Creation
Unlike most Christians, Seventh-day Adventists follow the traditional Sabbath as set forth in the Hebrew Bible and practiced within Judaism, which falls from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. Rather than considering Sunday as the day of rest as do most Christians, Adventists regard Saturday as the week's holy day. Adventists also believe in the literal interpretation of creation, as stated in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible -- that God's creations occurred within a six-day period.
The Heavenly Sanctuary
The heavenly sanctuary is also an important concept for Seventh-day Adventists. As described in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, Adventists believe that Jesus Christ currently lives within the 'most holy place' of the sanctuary and is cleansing the realm before his second coming. During this time in the heavenly sanctuary, Jesus Christ is also deciding who will be resurrected to go to heaven after the Second Coming.
The Afterlife and Salvation
Adventists also have idiosyncratic views when it comes to the afterlife. Unlike most Christians, Seventh-day Adventists believe that a person's life ends with death, and their souls do not go to heaven or hell. According to church doctrine, the righteous remain unconscious until the Second Coming. At this time, they will be resurrected, while the unrighteous will remain dead forever. Christ's Second Coming will then be followed by 1,000 years, referred to as the Millennium, when the world will be ruled by Satan. After this time, Christ will return, all sinners will be resurrected and will perish while the righteous join God.
Personal Beliefs and Ethics
Seventh-day Adventists are well known for their emphasis on health and acceptance of the dietary laws as set forth within the Old Testament, and specifically, the Torah, the first five chapters of the Hebrew Bible. The denomination has created many superb medical centers and institutions throughout the world. A healthy diet is an important practice for Adventists; although vegetarianism is encouraged within the religion, it is not mandatory. A Seventh-Day Adventist, John Harvey Kellogg invented Corn Flakes cereal as a healthy substitute for traditionally heavier breakfasts like bacon and eggs. In accordance to healthy living, Adventists abstain from smoking and drinking. They also dress modestly, are discouraged from going to movie theaters, are forbidden from public or social dancing and from engaging in premarital sex. They are also against homosexuality and hold strong pacifist beliefs.
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