Lately I have spent considerable time studying the topic of the so-called Last Generation Theology. According to the supporters of this theory there will be only a small group of Adventist believers ready for Christ’ s coming. And this “last generation” must be perfect. In my recent book IN ALL HUMILITY: Saying “No” to Last Generation Theology, I explain why this view is not just wrong but also very dangerous.
The thought that ultimately just a very small minority of the people (also of those who confess to believe in Christ) is a persistent idea which makes many Adventists believers unsure or even desperate. How much hope can they have in the light of the statement by Ellen G. White that only one in twenty will be saved? Many keep asking themselves the question: “Will I belong to that “remnant” (see Rev. 12:17) that will be acceptable to the Lord? Will I ever be good enough to one day receive eternal life?
I have become ever more convinced of the fact that we must present the gospel as “good news”. There is salvation for whoever believes (Rom. 10:9). It is God’s greatest desire that all would enter his kingdom (1 Tim. 2:3, 4). This had led some to believe that a God of love will not allow anyone to be lost. I find this view, that is known as universalism, very attractive. It seems to fit a lot better with a God of love than the idea that there will be an eternally burning hell fire. Fortunately, soon after their origin Adventists understood that there is no biblical ground for the idea that the “wicked” will suffer never-ending torture. However, it is clear that there have always been (and still are) people who consciously refuse the accept the offer of eternal life.
The Bible texts that speak of a “remnant” that will be saved should not blind us to the many Bible words which proclaim the good news that God’s house has many “mansions” (John. 14:2). However, living in one of these many “mansions” requires a personal decision. The statements about the “remnant” assure us that there have always been (and there will always be) people who make this good choice. Even though it may seem that in this world faith is on its way out, we have the good news that God’s enterprise is not a lost cause. On the contrary. There will eventually be a multitude that no one can count (Rev. 7:9) and a enormous crowd from “all tribes and peoples, and from every tongue and nation” (Rev. 5:9) that will enter God’s new world.
This enormous multitude is als described in Rev. 7:4-8 in terms of the 144.000. This is a symbolic label for God’s people in all its completeness. The number is based on units of 12 and 10. Twelve is the number of God’s people and ten is the number of completeness! In other words: No one—absolutely no one—of those whom God counts as His, will go missing. This makes me think of the words of that beautiful English hymn: “There is a wideness in God’s mercy like the wideness of the sea.” Many Adventist have not yet fully understood this. When push comes to shove, it does not depend on whether I am good enough, but on the certainty that God is good enough!