1 Peter 4:17: The Adventist Pioneers on this verse between 1846-1904

Koot van Wyk (DLitt et Phil; ThD)

John N. Loughborough in 1854

John N. Loughborough in 1854 wrote about 1 Peter 4 as follows in the context of 1844 calculation of Daniel 8:14: “Now read 1 Pet. iv. Verse 5 declares that Christ is ready to judge the quick and the dead. Verse 7. “But the end of all things is at hand.” Verse 11. “If any man speak let him speak as the oracles of God.”. . Verse 17 is then cited also in the context of 1844.[1]

John N. Loughborough in 1869

Loughborough in 1869 made it plain that there is not such a concept of a plurality of Judgment: “This judgment is not spoken of as a plurality of Judgments that are to sit, but ‘The ungodly shall not stand in the Judgment.’ Ps. i, 5, see also Ps. vii, 6; Acts xxiv, 25; Heb. X, 27; 1 Pet. iv, 17; 2 Pet. ii, 4; Jude 6; Rev. xiv, 7; Rev. xx, 12, 18”.[2] Loughborough in this writing discussed the theme whether there is a Judgment of the dead at death and he nullified this concept biblically.

James White 1857

James White in 1857 wrote about 1 Peter 4:17 as follows: “This text we must regard as prophetic. That it applies to the last period of the church of Christ, seems evident from verses 5-7, 12, 13. In the judgment of the race of man, but two great classes are recognized – the righteous and the sinner, or ungodly. Each class has its time of judgment; and according to the text, the judgment of the house, or church of God comes first in order.”Both classes will be judged before they are raised from the dead. The investigative judgment of house, or church of God will take place before the resurrection; so will the judgment of the wicked take place during the 1000 years of Rev. XX, and they will be raised at the close of that period.”[3]

John N. Andrews 1870

John .N. Andrews wrote in 1870 in Review and Herald on 1 Peter 4:17 as follows: “”This judgment work begins with the saints who render account through their High Priest; and if they are scarcely accounted worthy of eternal life when weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, what will be the end of those who have no Advocate in the judgment, but who come up to it with their sins standing against them in the book of God?”[4]

John O. Corliss 1880

John O. Corliss wrote as follows on 1 Peter 4:17 in 1880: “Peter says that judgment begins at the house of God.” He said this in the context of 1844 with the Investigative Judgment commencing.[5]

Uriah Smith 1885

Uriah Smith wrote in 1885 in Review and Herald as follows about 1 Peter 4:17: “It will be noticed that all this testimony which speaks of that portion of the Judgment which antedates the second advent, pertains to the righteous. This is the Judgment of which Peter speaks, that begins at the house of God, and he adds, “If it first begin at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God?” 1 Pet. 4:17. If we cannot pass this division of the Judgment which is, as it were, but the stepping or our feet into the brink of the waters, what shall we do in the swelling of Jordan?”[6]

Uriah Smith 1888

In 1888 in Review and Herald, Uriah Smith cited 2 Peter 3:7 “’Day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men’ Thus the day of judgment embraces all these divisions. And there is order and consistency in the arrangement: First, the cases of the righteous are examined (judgment begins at the house of God. 1 Peter 4:17), and sentence is executed. Then the cases of the wicked are examined, and sentence is executed.” Smith investigated Peter’s understanding of judgment and shows here that when he used that word in his letters he is thinking of the judgment of the righteous first. Even in Acts 3:19-21 Smith found Peter talking about the blotting out of sins [thus from Books in Heaven in an Investigative Judgment context] before Christ comes or the times of refreshing comes.[7]

[1] John N. Loughborough, (1854, February 14). “The hour of His Judgment come,” Review and Herald, pp. 1-2, especially page 2.

[2] John N. Loughborough, (1869, August 24). “The Judgment,” Review and Herald, pp. 1-6, especially page 2.

[3] James White, (1857, June 29). “The Judgment” Review and Herald, pp. 1-3, especially page 1.

[4] John N. Andrews, (1870, March, 15). “The Order of Events in the Judgment” Review and Herald, pp. 1-2, especially page 2.

[5] John O. Corliss, (1880, February 26). “The Twenty-Three Hundred Days,” Review and Herald, pp. 1-3, especially page 3.

[6] Uriah Smith, (1885, February 3). “The Judgment of the Great Day,” Review and Herald, pp. 1-3, especially page 2.

[7] Uriah Smith, (1888, May 22). “The Investigative Judgment,” Review and Herald, pp. 1-3, especially page 2.