Problems for Sabbatarians

Seventh Day Adventism / Problems for Sabbararians is written by Mark Swarbrick

Seventh Day Adventism is a non-Christian cult who primary figure is a self-proclaimed prophetess by the name of Ellen G White, who taught that salvation is found by keeping the Old Testament Jewish law, particularly in keeping the old Jewish Sabbath, from sundown on Friday evening to Sundown on Saturday. She maintained that worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ on Sunday is the mark of the beast. Saturday observance, or Sabbatarianism, is rife with problems, as this article delineates.

When is the Sabbath?

At 2:59 PM on Saturday, Adventists in the United States are worshipping the Lord, abstaining from work, and observing the Sabbath. Two minutes later, at 3:01 PM, they are still observing the Sabbath. But at the exact same moment in Israel, it is 12:01 AM on Sunday and of course no self-respecting Adventist in Israel would worship God on that day, for that would be taking the mark of the beast, according to Ellen G White.

Think about it. Adventists in America are observing the Sabbath while at the exact same moment, Adventists in Israel are being very careful to not observe the Sabbath, for they would be lost if they did. How fragile is salvation under the “other gospel” of the SDA Church!

The Problem of Pitcairn

Consider Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific. That was a deserted island until the mutineers of Mutiny on the Bounty fame settled the island. For a hundred years the island remained uncharted and no one knew what had happened to the mutineers that had commandeered the HMS Bounty. Fortunately, one Bible survived along with the mutineers, and their descendants made good use of it. From that Bible, all the descendants came to Christ. They worshipped Christ on Sunday in honor of the Lord’s resurrection on that day, just as the apostles and the early church did. And of course, coming from England, they were observing the day that was Sunday in England.

For a hundred years the Christian inhabitants of Pitcairn observed Sunday with no outside contact. But then the island was discovered. Adventist missionaries arrived with the writings of prophetess Ellen G White. These missionaries told them they were not really saved, for they were sabbath breakers. They had taken the mark of the beast by worshipping on Sunday. They were told that they all must change their Sabbath to Saturday to be saved and the islanders listened to them.

But later it was discovered that Pitcairn was actually on the American side of the date line. For a hundred years they had actually been observing the Sabbath on Saturday. They just thought it was Sunday because it was Sunday in England, but they had actually been worshipping the Lord on Saturday. So the Adventists had inadvertently switched them from worshipping on Saturday to worshipping on Friday! Thus, they were still Sabbath breakers. What a mess!

How did they fix it? They convinced the Pitcairnians to change their reckoning of the days of the week to coincide with America’s. They switched them to worshipping on America’s Saturday. Problem fixed, now they were worshipping on the proper Sabbath. But it was exactly same day they had observed for the past 100 years!

As you can see, salvation in the SDA is quite a complicated matter, especially for people near the dateline…or those near the North Pole where the sun never sets for months of the year, or for astronauts orbiting the earth!

A person is thoroughly brainwashed who does not to see the absurdities of Adventism.

And all this begs the question: If Saturday keeping is central to the Gospel, how is it that the Christians on Pitcairn, who studied the Bible daily for 100 years, did not see such a command in Scripture? I submit to you that it is because it is not there. Show me what passage in the Bible says not to worship the Lord on Saturday. No SDA adherent has ever been able to do it.

The Sins of Pitcairn

The devout piety of the inhabitants of Pitcairn Island is legendary. Logs of ships that visited Pitcairn island in the 1800s reported how all the inhabitants of Pitcairn, when discovered, were found to be peaceful and full of the grace of the Lord, praying and studying the word daily.

But after they were introduced to Adventism, that simple devotion to Christ deteriorated, in spite of the SDA always supplying pastors for their church.  In 2004 Great Britain sent authorities to the island and arrested a third of the island’s male population. They were convicted on charges of child rape. Girls as young as ten years old were routinely raped with the acceptance of the ruling Pitcairners, who were all members of the SDA Church. This event shows how many SDA followers imagine they are right with God by virtue of their Saturday observance. It is only a heart submitted and changed by Christ that delivers from sin and saves from judgment. Legalism always leads to blindness to sin, for one imagines they are made holy by keeping the law and are thus rendered ignorant of salvation and sanctification through faith in Christ.

The International Dateline & Seventh Day Adventism

The international Dateline is an internationally accepted demarcation of the surface of Earth, running between the South and North Poles and serving as the boundary between one calendar day and the next. It passes through the Pacific Ocean, roughly following the 180.0° line of longitude and deviating to pass around some territories and island groups.

There are some key points to understand: One, it is an “internationally accepted” line. In other words, the line is man-made. It is not something established by God. Secondly, it is not a perfectly straight line. It squiggles and bends around certain territories. Google up a map of the International Dateline and you can see that in eastern Russia the line swerves to the right by many hundreds of miles into the Bering Sea.

Who is to say where that line should be? Since whether or not you are saved (according to Adventists) depends upon worshipping on the correct day, the question must be asked: Is this a line that man should draw? Who is to say it was drawn with God’s approval? Who is to say it is right to swerve the line for convenience? Who is to say it should be drawn at 180 degrees?

Where was the Sabbath Instituted?

Adventists claim the Jewish Sabbath is the same day God rested after creating the Earth. What geographic location did God use to delineate the Sabbath? Was it where the Garden of Eden was? If so, how do you know that? And if it was Eden, where was Eden? That was before the earth was destroyed by Noah’s flood, so no one knows the location. The point is we don’t know what day God rested and if we did, we don’t where on earth that was demarked from.

And if it was the same day as God told Israel to worship (as many Adventists assert), what location is that reckoned from? There are three possibilities, Abraham’s birthplace, Mount Sinai, or the country of Israel.

Abraham was the father of the Israelite nation so perhaps his birthplace is the location. So where was he born? Abraham’s younger brother was born in “Ur of the Chaldeans.” But where is Ur of the Chaldeans? No one knows for sure. Some say southeastern Iraq, but we don’t even know if Abraham was also born there, for he came from a family of pastoral nomads, wandering from place to place for varying periods of time.

Mount Sinai seems a likely location as that is where the Ten Commandments were given. Where was that? The latest discoveries seem to point to Jabal Maqla, a peak within the Jabal al-Lawz mountain range, located in Saudi Arabia. Then there is the traditional location of Mount Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula, though there is no archeological or historical evidence to establish its veracity.

And then there is Israel itself. But whatever geographical location is accepted, it must be pointed out that southeastern Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, are all in different time zones. The beginning and ending of the Sabbath would be hours apart, depending on where you mark it from. Since Saturday observance, according to the SDA, must begin precisely at sundown on Friday and end at Sundown on Saturday, unless one picks the right location one is not going to be properly observing the Sabbath.

The Good News versus Seventh Day Adventism

The good news of the Gospel is that you can’t do anything to save yourself. God already did it for you. If you surrender your life to Christ and put your faith completely in Christ alone and trust His death and resurrection to save you, you will be born again and justified in His sight. You don’t have to worry about keeping imaginary rules made up by a religious organization.

Hear God’s Word:

“Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the lord is able to make him stand. One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike, let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. he who observes the day, observes it for the Lord…” – Ro 14:4-6

“How is it that you turn back again to weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.” – Galatians 4:9-11

“Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and he has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross…therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath day – things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ…these are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.” — Colossians 2:14,16-17,23,


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