History and False Teachings of the SDA
There has been much debate and confusion concerning the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist’s in Tanzania. So I have investigated the background of their fundamental beliefs in order to get a clearer picture of their teachings. Very quickly it became clear that Seventh-day Adventism is a ‘cult’ which is based on corrupt teachings. These teachings derive from deceiving spirits, which the apostle Paul said would arise in the last days (1 Tim.4:1). It represents ‘another’ gospel – the kind of false gospel that Paul warns against in the strongest terms in Galatians chapter 1 (verses 3-9) and into Corinthians chapter 11(verses 1-4).
For me, it was necessary to learn just one thing about their teaching to realise that it was a complete deception. One of the main founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the 1800s was Ellen G. White. She taught that on October 22, 1844 Jesus Christ left the ‘holy place’ in heaven and entered the holiest of holies. This idea is not just against Scripture but it is also against reason. How can one believe such nonsense which is nowhere taught in the Scripture and which the Scriptures contradict? The answer to this question is that it is the work of a deceiving spirit that works with power to blind men and women to the truth and to an understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is as serious as that. The word of God clearly teaches us that after his resurrection Jesus Christ entered into the holiest of holies (in heaven) with His blood. (Hebrews 9:7,8-12; 10:19). The holy of holies is a symbol for the presence and glory of God where he sits and reigns. More than this, the scriptures teach us that God’s redeemed people themselves have access – with boldness – into the holiest of all because of the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 4:16; 6:19,20; 10:19-23). The book of Hebrews explains to us that the Tabernacle in the wilderness symbolised spiritual realities in heaven, and that Christians now have access by the Holy Spirit into the presence of God (Eph.2:18).
Why should one abandon reason and believe something that opposes the clear teaching of the Bible? The answer is as follows: there were a number of people in the 1800s that believed that Jesus would return to the earth on October 22, 1844. This was based on their interpretation of Daniel 8:14 and the 2300 days which are mentioned there. One of the foremost leaders of this teaching was a man called William Miller and his followers were called Millerites or Adventists. Already here we see the deception that was working in these people’s hearts in thinking they could calculate the day of the Lord’s return, when the Lord himself has warned clearly us against such a thing (Matthew 24:23-27,44; 25:13). Of course, the Lord did not return on that day and there was bitter disappointment among the Adventists. Instead of repenting of their unhealthy curiosity, some of them opened themselves up to even greater deceptions in order to validate their interpretation of Daniel chapter 8.
Hiram Edson was also one of those who was bitterly disappointed, but he says that the next day, as he was crossing a field he stopped to pray, and it was as if heaven opened before him. He says it ‘was made clear to him’ that Jesus was not meant to return to Earth on October 22, 1844 but that on that day Christ moved ‘from the holy place in heaven’ into the most holy place to carry out a most holy work. (F. D. Nichol, ‘The Midnight Cry’ p.458). Edson immediately shared this interpretation with other followers who all thought it is wonderful news! These people were so obsessed with their interpretation of Daniel 8:14 that it allowed them to be deeply deceived by the devil through their various dreams and visions. They used Hebrews chapters 8 and 9 to support their invention that Jesus moved from the holy place into the most holy on 22nd October 1844!
Edson began studying the Bible with two of the other believers, O. R. L. Crosier and Franklin B. Hahn, who published their findings in a paper called the ‘Day-Dawn’. So Edson’s vision became the foundation for the Adventists ‘doctrine of the sanctuary’ (which I shall speak about shortly), and the people who held it became the main group of what would emerge from other Adventists groups as the Seventh-Day Adventist church. This false revelation was greatly encouraging for the Adventists. Ellen White wrote later, “the Scripture which above all others had been both the foundation and the central pillar of the Adventists faith was the declaration until 2300 days then shall the sanctuary the cleansed,” referring to Daniel 8:14. Ellen White and the Adventists believed that the 2300 ‘days’ mentioned by Daniel ended on October 22, 1844 and that since then Christ has begun a new phase in his ministry. And Ellen White called this ‘the foundation and central pillar of the Adventists faith’! And it is still one of the fundamental beliefs of Seventh-Day Adventists’ religion to this day!
Ellen White wrote a book of her experiences and visions. Some of her ‘visions’ border on the blasphemous as they represent a total corruption of biblical imagery and symbolism (Early Writings p.54, 55). They are work of deception and blasphemy. She claims she had visions of heaven and talked to angels and to Christ. These visions and ‘revelations’ are supposed to give support to their false teaching about Jesus entering the holy of holies in October 1844. This was supposed to have happened on October 22 1844! She claims to have had many such visions, which in truth represent not only an addition to scripture but a corruption of scripture. In addition to the Revelation of John, she has in fact written her own further ‘revelations’ which the Adventists claim are ‘authoritative.’ We know what the book of the Revelation says about people who add to it! (Re.22:18). Adventists might say Ellen White is not adding to the book of the Revelation, but because of the many new and corrupt things in her ‘revelations’, and because her followers believe that her writings are ‘authoritative’, this is what she is doing. Speaking of her writings she said, “The testimonies are of the Spirit of God or of the Devil” (Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 4, p. 230). It is clear that her testimonies are not of the Spirit of God.
As I said, if this is the beginning and source of Adventist teachings, it is enough for me to recognise that the teachings spring from complete deception. However, it should be no surprise that as we continue to look at their teachings, we will find further delusions and errors. Holding on to their interpretation of Daniel 8:14, the Adventists teach that Jesus entered the sanctuary, that is, the holy of holies, on October 22, 1844 in order to ‘cleanse the sanctuary’. So they believe that Jesus has been ‘cleansing the sanctuary, starting from 1844 up to this day! Where is this found in the Bible? It isn’t. It is based on the ‘visions’ of Edson Hiram and Ellen White! Nothing more! They wanted to give significance to the date they had chosen as an interpretation of Daniel 8:14. But this verse mentions the cleansing of the sanctuary, as well as the 2300 days. At first, as we have seen, they thought that ‘the cleansing of the sanctuary’ referred to the return of Jesus to earth, but because this did not happen, the Adventists had to invent a new interpretation concerning the ‘cleansing of the sanctuary’ which verse 14 refers to. So they invented something that is not taught in Scripture, which they call ‘investigative judgement.’ Writing about Jesus entering the holy of holies, Ellen White writes,
“After His ascension our Saviour began His work as our high priest…The ministration of the priest (in the Old Testament) throughout the year in the first apartment of the sanctuary,… represents the work of ministration upon which Christ entered at His ascension. It was the work of the priest in the daily ministration to present before God the blood of the sin offering… So did Christ plead His blood before the Father in behalf of sinners, and present before Him also,… the prayers of penitent believers. Such was the work of ministration in the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven.”
“For eighteen centuries this work of ministration continued in the first apartment of the sanctuary. The blood of Christ, pleaded in behalf of penitent believers, secured their pardon and acceptance with the Father, yet their sins still remained upon the books of record. As in the typical service there was a work of atonement at the close of the year, so before Christ’s work for the redemption of men is completed there is a work of atonement for the removal of sin from the sanctuary. This is the service which began when the 2300 days ended (that is, in 1844). At that time, as foretold by Daniel the prophet, our High Priest entered the most holy, to perform the last division of His solemn work – to cleanse the sanctuary.”
“As in ancient times the sins of the people were by faith placed upon the sin offering and through its blood transferred, in figure, to the earthly sanctuary, so in the new covenant the sins of the repentant are by faith placed upon Christ and transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary. And as the typical cleansing of the earthly was accomplished by the removal of the sins by which it had been polluted, so the actual cleansing of the heavenly is to be accomplished by the removal, or blotting out, of the sins which are there recorded. But before this can be accomplished, there must be an examination of the books of record to determine who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of His atonement. The cleansing of the sanctuary therefore involves a work of investigation – a work of judgment. This work must be performed prior to the coming of Christ to redeem His people; for when He comes.” (Great Controversy p.421,422).
This is the world of delusions that Adventists walk into. To hold on to their interpretation of Daniel 8:14 they not only corrupt the meaning of the Scriptures but invent things not taught in the Bible and that actually oppose Christ’s work of redemption. Ellen White and the Adventists teach that after the ascension of Jesus Christ he spent the first 1800 years in what corresponded to the first compartment of the Tabernacle in heaven, making intercession for believers by pleading his blood before the father! After these 1800 years he finishes that Ministry and begins the work of ‘investigative judgement’ (I will explain this in a moment) in the holy of holies in order to ‘cleanse the sanctuary’! This idea is an invention of their own minds. But it gets worse. Ellen White states that although the intercession of Christ (in the first sanctuary) secured pardon for believers who repented, nevertheless the sins of believers still remained in the books of record (which are in the holy of holies). So, she says, before the work of redemption could be completed these recorded sins had to be removed from the books by a further work of atonement! How was this further work of atonement, which would complete our redemption, achieved? The Adventists teach that in 1844 Christ entered into the holiest of all where the books are! These books contain the sins and works of believers – not of unbelievers. And Christ would begin the work of investigating these books and decide who was worthy to have their sins blotted out of the books. Ellen White writes that the sins of the repentant are by faith placed upon Christ and transferred, in fact, to the heavenly sanctuary! And how are the sins of the repentant ‘transferred’ into the holiest of all? Because these sins are recorded in the books which are in the holy of holies, and by being there they ‘pollute’ the sanctuary! And how is the sanctuary to be cleansed? It is to be cleansed by Christ investigating the lives of believers from these books and deciding who, because of true repentance and growth in grace and holiness, is worthy to have their sins blotted out of the books! This is called the process of ‘investigative judgement’. The blotting out of the sins from the books in the holy of holies is called the ‘cleansing of the sanctuary’. All this is a complete invention by the Adventists. Adventists teach that when this work is finished Christ shall return to take his own.
The following quotes show clearly that Adventists think that the work of atonement is still carrying on: “The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel sin….It will stand in the sanctuary until the final atonement” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 357). “Now while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ” (The Great Controversy, p. 623). “…instead of coming to the earth at the termination of the 2300 days in 1844, Christ then entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary to perform the closing work of atonement preparatory to His coming”. (The Great Controversy, p. 422). How can people follow a woman who says that after his resurrection Jesus interceded for us but that His blood was not enough to cancel sin and that after 1800 years a work of investigative judgement had to then take place to remove our sins? It is a work of deep deception among her followers!
None of this is taught in the Bible but all of it is an attack on the work of Jesus Christ on Calvary! On Calvary the Son of God cried out ‘It is finished!’ Immediately, the veil separating the holy place from the holiest of all was torn apart! This signified that Jesus, by his blood, had opened the way into the holy of holies in heaven, that is, into the presence of God! Hebrews 9:8 tells us, “The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.” So when the veil was rent in two, this signified that God had put an end to the service of the Tabernacle and because of Jesus’ blood we have access into a heavenly kingdom, as the writer explains in Hebrews 13:10-22. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection we have boldness to enter into the holy of holies by the blood of Jesus, as Hebrews 10:19 clearly tells us! But the Adventists want to tell us that Christ didn’t enter the holy of holies until 1844!
The day of atonement in the old Testament provided forgiveness for the sins of Israel through the sacrifice of bulls and goats. To make atonement for the people, the blood of these animals were brought into the holy of holies by the high priest and sprinkled upon the mercy seat (Leviticus 16). Hebrews chapters 9 and 10 explain to us that just as the high priest went into the holy of holies once a year with the blood of bulls and goats, so Christ, as our high priest, entered the holiest with his own blood at his resurrection – “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us..” (Hebrews 9:12). What was the significant ministry of the high priest in the Old Testament in order to secure God’s forgiveness for his people? It was to bring the blood of bulls and goats into the holy of holies once a year. And one of the main purposes of the book of Hebrews is to show us that Jesus Christ is our high priest, who after he suffered and died on Calvary, entered the holy of holies in heaven with his own blood for the forgiveness of sins and for the redemption of men and women! Ellen White corrupts and destroys the teaching of the book of Hebrews by claiming that Jesus didn’t enter the holy of holies until 1844.
Moreover, Ellen White’s teaching attacks the word of God by saying that the work of redemption is not yet complete because there still needs to be a ‘cleansing of the sanctuary’. The word of God tells us that with one sacrifice Christ obtained eternal redemption, and that those in Christ have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb (1 Peter 1:18)! The writer to the Hebrews says, “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; …For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:12,14). These, and other scriptures, make it very clear that it was the one offering of Christ, made on the one occasion of his death on the cross that secured our salvation and redemption, and the deep cleansing of our souls! Christ did not wait 1800 years after his resurrection before entering the holy of holies! Did the high priest in the Old Testament spend 1800 years in the first compartment of the Tabernacle before entering the holy of holies with the blood of bulls and goats?
The Bible does not speak of any ‘further’ work or ministry that Christ needs to carry out in order to finish the work of redemption, atonement or cleansing! Any ministry that Christ now has is based on the finished work of redemption which he achieved through his death and resurrection! However, Ellen White and the Adventists want us to believe that the process to ‘cleanse the sanctuary’ by ‘investigative judgement’ has been going on since 1884 and is still continuing! This is a fantasy.
Ellen White puts this in her own words, “It is this coming, and not His second advent to the earth, that was foretold in prophecy to take place at the termination of the 2300 days in 1844. Attended by heavenly angels, our great High Priest enters the holy of holies and there appears in the presence of God to engage in the last acts of His ministration in behalf of man – to perform the work of investigative judgment and to make an atonement for all who are shown to be entitled to its benefits… only those who had come before God with confession and repentance, and whose sins, through the blood of the sin offering, were transferred to the sanctuary, had a part in the service of the Day of Atonement. So in the great day of final atonement and investigative judgment the only cases considered are those of the professed people of God.” (The Great Controversy, p. 480.)
This teaching also attacks the divinity of Jesus Christ. Is Jesus Christ a man so that he has to spend many years looking through books to see what people have done? Is he not God? Is he not God’s Son? Were not the names of the saints written in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world? (Rev.17:8). Were we not chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world as it says in Ephesians 1:4? Jesus Christ knew that Peter would deny him three times! Jesus Christ says to the churches in the book of Revelation “I know your works…”. The truth is that the son of God knows us through and through and has no need to spend 200 years or more investigating our lives to establish whether we are worthy of eternal life!
The Seventh-Day Adventists today have a list of 28 fundamental beliefs, and the teaching above is one of them! Ellen White writes, “The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need a knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill… All who have received the light upon these subjects are to bear testimony of the great truths which God has committed to them.” (Great Controversy p.488). According to her words, you not only need to understand this teaching in order to fulfil your destiny in God’s plan, but you also need to share it with others!
Concerning the matter of judgement, the scriptures make it clear that we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10), and that those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will suffer eternal judgement. The Bible also has the severest warnings for those believers who turn back to the world after believing in Christ. But the scriptures do not support even with a single verse the Adventists’ idea of ‘investigative judgement’, nor does it support their idea that Christ waited 1800 years after his resurrection before entering the holy of holies!
Upon this foundation of deception further errors and deceptions followed. For example, Ellen White taught that in the end all the sins of the believers would be placed on Satan! She writes, “It was seen, also, that while the sin offering pointed to Christ as a sacrifice, and the high priest represented Christ as a mediator, the scapegoat typified Satan, the author of sin, upon whom the sins of the truly repentant will finally be placed.” (The Great Controversy, p. 422). “Their sins are transferred to the originator of sin.” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 475).
This is a delusion and directly contradicts the scriptures which describe Jesus as the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Isaiah says the Lord has laid upon him the iniquities of us all. (Isaiah 53:6). Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many (Hebrews 9:25) and he condemned sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3) – he who knew no sin was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21). It is clear in Hebrews chapters 9 and 10 that Christ represents the sacrifices which were offered in the Old Testament to make atonement for the people, not Satan. The idea that our sins will be laid on Satan is total confusion and deception, and shows a total lack of understanding of what God did through Christ on Calvary!
Ellen White also hated the idea of eternal punishment. She could not accept a God that would send people to eternal judgement. She totally rejected this truth. In this, she agrees with the teaching of the Jehovah witnesses. She taught that all unbelievers and sinners would be totally destroyed and would cease to exist. She wrote, “How repugnant to every emotion of love and mercy, and even to our sense of justice, is the doctrine that the wicked dead are tormented with fire and brimstone in an eternally burning hell; … Yet this doctrine has been widely taught and is still embodied in many of the creeds of Christendom. … Where, in the pages of God’s word, is such teaching to be found?” (The Great Controversy, p. 535). “But I saw that God would not shut them up in hell to endure endless misery, neither will He take them to heaven… but He will destroy them utterly and cause them to be as if they had not been.” (Early Writings, p. 221).
She asks where in the scriptures can this teaching be found – as though she had never read the Bible! The scriptures are very clear about eternal judgement. In Matthew chapter 25 Jesus said that the unrighteous will go away into ‘everlasting punishment’ but the righteous into ‘everlasting life’ (verse 46). In the original Greek of the New Testament the same word (‘everlasting’) is applied both to ‘punishment’ and to ‘life’. In other words, if the punishment is not everlasting then the eternal life of believers is also not everlasting! In verse 41 of this chapter Jesus tells the unrighteous to depart into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. These, and many other scriptures, make this truth plain – Daniel 12:2; Matthew 18:8; Mark 9:43,44; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 14:11; 19:3; 20:10; 21:8. To the human mind this punishment might seem extreme but one thing is certain, on the day of judgement, God’s judgement will be seen to be utterly righteous by everyone and no one will be able to accuse God of a lack of compassion and mercy! Men in their pride and vanity exalt their own sense of compassion and righteousness against God’s!
Together with the Jehovah witnesses also, Adventists believe that the Archangel Michael is Jesus Christ. However, Adventists still believe that Christ is God’s son and divine.
Now we come on to a central teaching of the Seventh-day Adventist’s, that is, their teaching about the Sabbath day. This teaching perhaps more than anything else shows that Adventism is not Christian, neither in its source nor in its interpretation of the scriptures. In 1847, Ellen White claims to have had a vision of the holy city in heaven and was taken into the holy place. She says that Jesus then lifted the veil and she entered the holy of holies where she saw the golden pot of manna an Aaron’s rod that budded. She claims she saw the 10 Commandments written on two plates and that these two plates shone, but the one that shone the brightest, she says, was the fourth commandment concerning the Sabbath.
Let me just pause here for a moment to consider this. Many of the things that God commanded in the Old Testament were representations of Jesus Christ who would later come. It is Jesus Christ who is now the bread of life who came down from heaven (John 6:32,33); God’s choice for the High Priest is no longer Aaron, but Jesus Christ! Did Ellen White not understand that we have Christ instead of manna now? Did she not understand that Christ has replaced the Levitical priesthood (Hebrews 7:11-22.)? God has made a new covenant where Jesus is the light, Jesus is the bread of heaven and God’s eternal choice for us as our high priest! Jesus shines with such glory that Moses and Elijah (the Law and the Prophets) are not equal in any way! (Mathew 17:4-8; 2 Corinthians 3:10.) Ellen White said that the fourth commandment shone the brightest of all the commandments in the holy of holies. Here we see the full depth of the deception of Ellen White and the Adventists! They neither understand the New Covenant nor the Gospel. They do not understand what God accomplished on Calvary on our behalf!
The word of God teaches us that the law was given by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is “the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes” (Romans 10:4) and that we are no longer under the law (Romans 6:14). Does this mean we can continue in sin? No! God has cleansed us by the blood of the lamb and given us his Spirit and so puts his laws into our hearts (Hebrews 8). We now live by faith in the life of Christ Jesus within us and so fulfil the righteousness required by the law, even as Romans 8:4 tells us very clearly. And it is also in this sense that Christ came to fulfil the law, that is, what the law could not do in making us righteous, God has done through the death and resurrection of his Son by putting the life of his Son in us, that we should bear the fruit of righteousness through Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:11)! Paul spends all of chapter 3 of two Corinthians to show that the law only ministered death and that the glory of Christ and his life far outshine the glory of Moses and the Law, and that those who have received the Spirit of God now behold the glory of the Lord! Hebrews chapter 1 verse three declares that Christ is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of his person! Yet the vision of Ellen White stands all this on its head. In her vision Jesus Christ is just someone who shows her around the tabernacle but she gives more attention to the things of the Old Covenant like the pot of manna and Aaron’s rod! And for her, on this occasion, it was the 10 Commandments that shone, and the fourth commandment shone brighter than them all!
In 2 Corinthians chapter 3 Paul says God has made them ministers of the New Covenant, not of the letter (in other words, not ‘written in tables of stone’, as he says in verse 3) but of the Spirit. Paul teaches us that ‘the letter kills’ but the Spirit ‘gives life.’ In other words, those who preach and focus on keeping the commandments written in stone are not ministers of the New Covenant, they are not ministers of Christ. Not only this, but they minister death to their hearers, not life. In other words, it is only the ministry of the Spirit that gives us life, a life that bears the fruit of righteousness. Those that minister the law written in stone minister death, because laws written in stone have no power to make us alive nor to make us righteous! Paul continues by saying that this ‘ministry of death’ written in stone had a type of glory at the time it was given to Moses. But then Paul explains that the ‘glory of the Spirit’ – which Paul now calls the ‘ministry of righteousness’ – is far greater than the ‘glory of the letter’, which Paul now calls the ‘ministry of condemnation’. He then teaches us that the glory of the Spirit (of the New Covenant) is so much greater than the glory of the commandments written in stone, that it is as if the glory of the commandments written in stone have no glory now! (Verse 10). In fact, he tells us that the glory of the ministry of the Spirit and of righteousness is so much greater, that God has done away with the ministry of the letter written in stone! (Verse 11). Adventists do not understand the word of God in this passage, and through their teachings they resurrect or bring back ‘the ministry of the letter written in stones’, which only keeps people in spiritual ‘death’ and ‘condemnation’. They glorify this ministry against the New Covenant of God, which puts His laws in our heart by His Spirit. The Adventists say that they follow after righteousness, but by their focus on keeping the Law of Moses, they only minister death and condemnation. It is the ministry of the Spirit and living by faith in Christ that ministers life and righteousness. And it is this righteousness, which Adventists claim to live by, which they totally miss and fail to attain by their teachings about the Law! (Romans 10:2,3).
I explain much more about this in my other article (‘Should we meet on Saturday or Sunday’), but let me point out here that those that preach the keeping of the Law of Moses oppose the ministry of the Spirit, and they do not know the ministry of the Spirit in their lives producing the fruits of righteousness. It is only by the ministry of the Spirit through receiving the baptism in the Spirit that gives us life, the life of Christ in us by which we live holy lives and bear the fruit of righteousness. By focusing on keeping the ten commandments, Adventists resist the grace of Christ (Gal.1:6) and try to perfect holiness ‘in the flesh’ instead of by faith and by the Spirit of Christ (Gal.3:2,3). Adventists do no understand the power of the Gospel as declared in Romans 8:1-4. In this sense, those who follow the Adventists’ teaching are kept out of knowing the power of Christ’s salvation to make them righteous and holy, and in this sense, Adventism is not Christian. More than this, it actually opposes the Gospel, as Paul makes clear in his whole letter to the Galatians.
We can see that Ellen White and the Adventists through these delusions have replaced the proper place that God has given Jesus Christ with the law, and especially the law of the Sabbath! They want to take people right back to the Old Covenant and live there! What a deception is this to exalt the law above Jesus Christ! It is no wonder that the Adventists cannot hear or understand what we say when their minds have been so blinded!
Ellen White said that the fourth commandment shone above the others with a halo round about it and was set apart to be kept in honour of God’s name! She goes on to say that if the fourth commandment can be broken then all the other nine commandments can be broken! Perhaps this will help you to understand why so many Adventists argue that if we don’t keep the external Sabbath, then it is just the same as saying we can sin regarding the other nine commandments! They completely misunderstand the New Covenant when they say, “If we can break the Sabbath, then it is just the same as saying we can commit adultery!” The minds of Adventists have been corrupted by this teaching, with the result that ‘keeping the Law’ is an essential part of their religion – and it is this kind of religion that Paul preaches against in his Galatian letter.
The Adventists have a list of 28 fundamental beliefs. Number 20 concerns the Sabbath and says this, “The fourth commandment of God’s unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath… It is a symbol of our redemption in Christ, a sign of our sanctification, a token of our allegiance.” (From the official Adventist website). So they are saying that keeping the outward Sabbath is a sign of your redemption and sanctification! These people have invented a new religion but it is certainly not Christian! We are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ; we are sanctified through his blood and by God’s Spirit. This is what has already been accomplished for us by Jesus Christ and our sanctification is to be shown through changed lives by faith in Christ, not by the keeping of an outward law!
Number 19 of the fundamental beliefs of the Adventists (called ‘The Law of God’) states this, “The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ… These precepts are the basis of God’s covenant with His people and the standard in God’s judgment.”
It is clear by these statements that the Adventists reject the truth of the Gospel and have no understanding of the New Covenant. The basis of God’s New Covenant with his people is the blood of his Son Jesus Christ – not the 10 Commandments! (Luke 22:20; Hebrews 9:14-20; 12:24; 13:20.) God’s fullness is embodied in Jesus Christ – not in the 10 Commandments! (Colossians 2:9). God is not letters written in stone; He is life itself, and to fulfil the righteousness of the law we need His life in us and to live by faith in him. Jesus Christ said I am the way the truth and the life! Christ living in us is the way of fulfilling righteousness – not by the keeping of outward commandments! (Romans 8:2-4.) The basis of God’s covenant with us is the death and resurrection of his Son! Like the Pharisees, so the Seventh-day Adventists are zealous for the law. They idolise the observance of outward things and reject God’s way to life and righteousness through faith in his son Jesus Christ. Through their zeal for the law they miss completely the righteousness of the law; they fail to fulfil the righteousness required by the law even as it says in Romans 10:2-4. Have they not read, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”? (Romans 3:20). The Ten Commandments are not the ‘standard in God’s judgement’ as the Adventists claim! His Son Jesus Christ is!
“In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.” (Rom.2:16).
“He that says he abides in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked… Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure… In this is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 2:6; 3:2,3; 4:17).
Although much more could be said about law and faith, I have written comprehensively about this in another article called ‘Should we meet on Saturday or Sunday?’ So please read that article where I go into many Scriptures that relate to the difference between living by faith and being under the law.
Mary was the mother of Jesus on earth, but those Catholics who pray to her commit idolatry. God gave the law through Moses, but in the new covenant God has given us Jesus Christ that we might fulfil righteousness through ‘faith in Him’ – not by ‘keeping the law of Moses’. By their teaching the Seventh-day Adventist’s commit idolatry by exalting the law above Jesus Christ. By glorifying the law, especially the fourth commandment, they are blinded to the meaning of the new covenant and kept out of the salvation provided by God’s Son.
This idolatry shows itself in further delusions of Ellen White concerning the Sabbath day. She taught that the keeping of the Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty among Christians – it will distinguish between those who serve God and those who serve him not! She said that those believers who meet on Sunday show their disloyalty to God by bowing ‘to the law of the state’ and in the end time they are the ones who shall receive the Mark of the beast! Those believers who keep the Sabbath are showing their loyalty to divine authority and they shall receive the ‘seal of God’! In other words, she taught that it is only those who keep the outward Sabbath who will receive the seal of God mentioned in the book of the Revelation. All others (including all other professing Christians) will receive the Mark of the beast! Adventists often call Christians who do not keep the Sabbath and the law of Moses the ‘apostate church’, ‘fallen churches’ or ‘Babylon’. And they do so with Christians that disagree with them on forums such as Facebook groups!
This is what Ellen White wrote, “I saw that the holy Sabbath is, and will be, the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers”. (Early Writings p.32,33.)
“The sign or seal of God is His Sabbath, and the seal or mark of the beast is in direct opposition to it; it is a counterfeit Sabbath on the ‘day of the Sun.” (The Great Controversy page 691, 1888 edition.)
“I saw that God has honest children among the fallen churches and before the plagues shall be poured out, ministers and people will be called out from these churches and will gladly receive the truth… All who are honest will leave the fallen churches, and take their stand with the remnant.” (Early Writings p.261.)
In ‘Medical Ministry’ (p.123) she writes, “The soul WHO KEEPS THE SABBATH is stamped with the SIGN of God’s government, and HE MUST NOT DISHONOR THIS SIGN. By closely examining the word of God, we may know whether we have the King’s MARK, whether we have been chosen and set apart to honor God…God will NEVER, NEVER allow any man TO PASS through the pearly GATES OF THE CITY OF GOD who does not bear the SIGNET of the faithful, His government MARK.”
Again in ‘The Review and Herald’ she wrote, ““The third angel’s message has been sent forth to the world, warning men against receiving the mark of the beast or of his image in their foreheads or in their hands…If the light of truth has been presented to you, REVEALING THE SABBATH OF THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT, and showing that there is no foundation in the word of God for Sunday observance, and yet YOU STILL CLING TO THE FALSE SABBATH, REFUSING TO KEEP HOLY THE SABBATH which God calls “My holy day,” YOU RECEIVE THE MARK OF THE BEAST. When does this take place? – When you obey the decree that commands you to cease from labor on Sunday and worship God, while you know that there is not a word in the Bible showing Sunday to be other than a common working-day, you consent to receive the mark of the beast, and refuse the seal of God. If we receive this mark in our foreheads or in our hands, the judgments pronounced against the disobedient must fall upon us. BUT THE SEAL OF THE LIVING GOD IS PLACED UPON THOSE WHO CONSCIENTIOUSLY KEEP THE SABBATH of the Lord.” (‘God’s Holy Sabbath’, ‘The Review and Herald’ July 13, 1897, by Mrs. E.G.W.)
So this teaching reaches fullness of deception. It says that not only must we keep the law of Moses in general, but if we don’t keep the outward Sabbath day then we will be part of the fallen church (or Babylon) and we will be among those that receive the Mark of the beast! Can you see how seventh-day Adventism traps people into a religion of bondage and fear?
Of course, there was no Seventh Day Adventists before 1844, so Ellen White taught that those who hadn’t heard or don’t hear their teachings will be judged by the light that they had. However, she taught that before the Lord’s return this teaching of the Sabbath would be preached in all the world and those who reject it will receive the mark of the beast (even Christian believers) and not be saved upon the Lord’s return.
The Seventh-Day Adventists have a system of belief that sets them not just outside the Christian Gospel but puts them in active opposition to it! In this sense Seventh Day Adventism is like Mormonism and the religion of the Jehovah witnesses. Joseph Smith, the founder Mormonism, claimed to have had visions and said that an angel helped him to translate into English a book of golden plates. Likewise Adventism relies heavily on the visions and writings of Ellen White for its understanding and interpretation of Scripture. The Seventh-Day Adventist church tries to deny this, saying that the Bible is the final authority in matters of doctrine and practice. They specifically state that,
“We do not believe that the writings of Ellen White may be used as the basis of doctrine… We do not believe that Scripture can be understood only through the writings of Ellen White.”
This is not exactly true, and please notice the use of the word ‘only’ in the previous statement! What they mean is that their interpretation of Scripture is the same as Ellen White’s and so they are not dependent on her! (But it is the same interpretation as hers because they were influenced by her!) This is an argument that goes around in a circle! We get nearer the truth when we look at the other statements they make concerning Ellen Whites writings,
“We do NOT believe that the quality or degree of inspiration in the writings of Ellen White is different from that of scripture… We believe that Ellen White was inspired by the Holy Spirit and that her writings, the product of that inspiration, are applicable and authoritative, especially to Seventh-day Adventists.” (The last two quotes from: The Adventist Review, December 23, 1982, The Inspiration and Authority of the Ellen G. White Writings, Ten Affirmations and Ten Denials on Ellen White’s Authority)
So here they clearly state that the quality or degree of Ellen White’s inspiration is the same as that of the Bible, and that her writings are therefore applicable and authoritative! The Seventh-day Adventists believe that the visions and teachings of Ellen White that I have listed above are inspired by God! This shows how deceived the whole Seventh-day Adventist church is. No Christian church will claim this for any of their writers however much they may respect them and follow their teachings!
We held a seminar in Morogoro, Tanzania one year and I had a discussion with the Seventh-day Adventist. After showing him verses from the Galatian and Colossians letters he finally agreed that it was wrong to tell people that they must meet on the Sabbath. My desire is that people are not kept from the full salvation that is in Jesus Christ and that is why I have written this article. It is for those who are unsure about these things and need scriptural explanation and clarification, and for those, who although they are Seventh-day Adventists, have not yet been fully affected and blinded by these teachings. God looks on our hearts and I can imagine that it’s possible that if a person hears about Christ dying for their sins for the first time through Seventh-day Adventist’s and believes this message, that God may be working in their lives. But if this person’s heart is open and honest before God, then their reading of the scriptures will lead them out of the deception of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. And it is in hope of reaching such people that this article, in part, is written. For those who have already been deeply affected by the Adventists’ teaching and who are zealous for the law, the blindness and deception that is working in their hearts makes it very difficult for them to acknowledge the truth and to understand what is so clearly written in the scriptures. Like the Pharisees, they will resist and fight against the truth of the Gospel.
Some people debate with Adventists as though they are Christians who just hold some different teachings to other Christians. People who do this do the Adventists an injustice! To argue with Adventists as though they are fellow-Christians is to deceive them! If you want to be a true friend to them, if you want to love them with Gospel love, then warn them that they preach ‘another gospel’ (Gal.1:8), that they put themselves under the curse (Gal.3:10), that their religion is in vain (Gal.4:11), that Christ is of no profit to them and that they have fallen from grace (Gal.5:4)! This is not being judgemental; this is not slander; this is not being ‘unkind’. This is the reality of the situation which our love for the Lord Jesus and His truth should lead us to declare.
© 2016 David Stamen www.somabiblia.com
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