ADVENTISM AND THE SABBATH: When the Truth Started as a Lie. Part 2

harvest_moon_lake-e1348770140423[As mentioned in our first post, much of the source materials used herein came from a friend who obtained them from “BibleTruthers.org,” who, for whatever reason, now appears to be inactive. Having said that, the thrust of this post is to further examine the basis of Adventist Sabbatarianism. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself as you read the second post on this subject:.

  1. When confronted with their erroneous position, how has the church reacted?
  2. What is the reasoning for their reaction?
  3. Are they protecting a true scriptural approach to the Bible?
  4. What is the reasonable thing to do?
  5. What would you do in their position?  Why?

As we have observed in our previous post, the problem is when the Sabbath is calculated by the original Biblical calendar does not fall on Saturday because the weekly cycle of the luni-solar calendar does not align with the weekly cycle of the Gregorian calendar, which is a solar calendar. Furthermore, this can be proven by the fact that if the 2300 day/year time period started in 457 BC as taught by both the Millerites and the SDA Church, the year AD 31 is pinpointed as the year of the crucifixion. When the luni-solar calendar for AD 31 is overlaid the Julian calendar for the same year, Passover, the sixth day of the week, also does not fall on Friday. This was the problem facing the Study Committee of 1995. To acknowledge that the Church’s sole, unique contribution to Protestant theology was based upon a different method of time-keeping, was to open the floodgates to a problem they did not wish to deal with: i.e., the problem that the Biblical Sabbath is not Saturday!]

When interviewed, one of the committee members stated, “The main thing the NAD men wanted to cover up was the fact that October 22 is based on Jewish lunar calculation.

He said that they were wanting to get people thinking that it was based on solar calendation.” This led to extremely heated discussions among the committee members.

While the author does not know precisely which position, each specific man from the NAD and the GC took, it is to be noted that according to his interviews, three of the five members from Andrews University were vocal in their support for a truthful and consistent stance on the establishment of the date of October 22, 1844.

A committee member recalled some of the discussion that took place over the issue, stating emphatically: Anytime you have October 22 and it is your hallmark doctrine, it is the hallmark doctrine that sets your denomination apart as distinct and separate from all other denominations, and it is based on Jewish lunar calculation, and then you give people the idea that you got it from the solar calendar, you’re lying! Several of us were very, very hard on them.

When asked if the church officials who appointed the committee, in their ignorance of the topic, if they actually thought that the Study Committee could refute the lunar Sabbath, he replied: In their ignorance, they actually thought they had a committee that would rubber stamp whatever they were told to agree to. But after a few meetings they saw that they couldn’t get a consensus from us, they couldn’t bully us, and they shut it down. They saw that they were about to open Pandora’s box and so they shut it down.

The committee members who did not feel comfortable speaking up in support of an open admission of the calendar used to establish October 22 as the Day of Atonement in 1844, nevertheless saw the truth of what the others were saying. One of them admitted to another, “I see what you are saying and I agree with you.” When asked why, then, he had not spoken up in the committee, he replied: “Art thou he that troubleth Israel?” If I am viewed as a liberal, I will lose everything. The fastest way to destroy your career in the SDA Church is to be branded a liberal scholar. If I come out and agree with you, my career will be over. I’ll lose my job. I’ll lose everything. Once you’re labeled a liberal in the Adventist Church, you’re dead.

Even Chairman Johnston went so far as to admit: “I agree with what you are saying, and that is why I do not teach Bible Chronology. Men and women are saved by grace and so that is what I teach. I do not teach Bible Chronology.”

In order to spare the corporate church the embarrassment of having to admit that Saturday was not actually the Biblical Sabbath, the Study Committee was shut down and the subject was suppressed. Or, as one committee member recalled, it was feared the truth “would blow up the Church.”

The concept of the need to regulate the weekly Sabbath by the lunar cycles was known very early on within Adventism. An allusion to the idea can be found as early as 1850, a full 13 years before the Seventh-day Adventist Church was formally established in 1863. In that year, Sylvester Bliss, an Adventist pioneer and one of the leaders of the earlier Millerite Movement, published a book entitled Analysis of Sacred Chronology. In his opening remarks, Sylvester Bliss, Millerite editor of The Signs of the Times and later editor of the Advent Herald.

Bliss stated:

Time is measured by motion. The swing of a clock pendulum marks seconds. The revolutions of the earth mark days and years. The earliest measure of time is the day. Its duration is strikingly indicated by the marked contrast and succession of light and darkness. Being a natural division of time, it is very simple, and is convenient for the chronology of events within a limited period.

The week, another primeval measure, is not a natural measure of time, as some astronomers and chronologers have supposed indicated by the phases or quarters of the moon. It was originated by divine appointment at the creation, six days of labor and one of rest being wisely appointed for man’s physical and spiritual well-being.

This assumption that the week is the sole unit of time-measurement that is not tied to anything is nature was repeated by J. N. Andrews in his weighty tome, History of the Sabbath and First Day of the Week, published by Review & Herald Publishing Association in 1887, where he quoted Bliss’ above statement. For these statements to make it into publication would seem to indicate that there was wide enough agitation of the subject that the authors felt the need to address the matter, however briefly.

Around this same time, Alonzo T. Jones wrote a scathing rebuttal of the concept as presented by a Sunday-keeping minister. Unfortunately, his response was more of an impassioned attack rather than a well-reasoned, logical refutation addressing the various evidences supporting the concept. To the author’s knowledge, there is no evidence that Ellen White was involved in any discussion of the topic or even aware of it.

However, within the Spirit of Prophecy (as the writings of Ellen White are known to Seventh-day Adventists) numerous statements are made that do support luni-solar reckoning of time. A few examples include:

Alonzo T. Jones

  • Acknowledgment that the crucifixion occurred on the Passover, the sixth day of the week and the 14th day of the lunar month. (See Great Controversy, p. 399.)
  • Confirmation that the Passover was observed nationally the night Yahushua lay at rest in Joseph’s tomb. (See Desire of Ages, p. 775.)
  • Recognition of the latter rain link to the spring barley harvest beginning of the year. (See From Trials to Triumph, p. 30.)

([The original author notes:] It is true that there are some references in her writings to “Friday” and “Saturday” but such terminology cannot be found in Scripture. Furthermore, it is historically documented fact that the seven-day planetary week in use today did not enter the Julian calendar until after the death of Jesus.)