Adventist Involvement With Nazi Germany, Part 3: The Not Very Apologetic Apology…

Church Leaders Say “We’re Sorry”
German and Austrian churches apologize for Holocaust actions
BY MARK A. KELLNER, assistant director for news and information of the General Conference Communication Departmentoting the sixtieth anniversary of the end of World War II, Seventh-day Adventist church leaders in Germany and Austria have released a declaration saying they “deeply regret” any participation in or support of Nazi activities during the war. The church bodies “honestly confess” a failure “in following our Lord” by not protecting Jews, and others, from that era’s genocide, widely known as the Holocaust. Millions of people perished from war atrocities, including more than 6 million Jews who were exterminated in Nazi persecutions during the 12-year period of 1933 to 1945.The declaration was initially published in the May 2005 issue of AdventEcho, a monthly German-language church magazine, and also will appear in other German publications, said Günther Machel, president of the South German Union Conference and one of three signatories to the statement.

A copy of the statement has been provided to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority in Israel, added Rolf Pöhler, a former North German church area president who is now that region’s theological advisor and was involved with the drafting of the declaration.

“We deeply regret that the character of National Socialist dictatorship had not been realized in time and distinctly enough, and the ungodly nature of [Nazi] ideology had not clearly been identified,” the statement, as translated from German, reads. The church says it also regrets “that in some of our publications . . . there were found articles glorifying Adolf Hitler and agreeing with the ideology of anti-Semitism in a way that is unbelievable from today’s [perspective].”

Church leaders also expressed regret that “our peoples became associated with racial fanaticism destroying the lives and freedom of 6 million Jews and representatives of minorities in all of Europe” and “that many Seventh-day Adventists did not share the need and suffering of their Jewish fellow-citizens.”

A paramount regret, the statement indicated, was that German and Austrian Adventist congregations “excluded, separated and left [church members who were] . . . of Jewish origin to themselves so that they were delivered to imprisonment, exile or death.”

Under various racial decrees, some Adventist congregations expelled members of Jewish heritage. One, Max-Israel Munk, was placed in two concentration camps by the Nazis and survived and returned to his church after the war. He said he did not wish to act toward his congregation in the way in which he had been treated, according to Daniel Heinz, a church archivist at Friedensau Adventist University who has studied Adventist activities during the National Socialist era.

Along with Machel, the other leaders who signed the statement were Klaus-Juergen van Treeck, North German Union Conference president, and Herbert Brugger, president of the Adventist Church in Austria. Pöhler and Johannes Hartlapp, church historian at Friedensau, drafted the statement on which the declaration is based. All three church geographic areas voted to approve the text, Pöhler said.

In the statement, the three assert that the “obedience we owe to the state authorities does not lead to giving up biblical convictions and values.” They said that while only God can judge the actions of prior generations, “in our day, however, we want to take a decided stand for right and justice-towards all people.”

Brugger, in a telephone interview, said, “Our church members really appreciated the publishing of this document.” No indication of a reaction from Austria’s Jewish community has been received, but Brugger said the Adventist Church is not as well known in Austria as some other movements are.

Asked how a church that considers keeping the Sabbath as one of its core beliefs could forsake Jewish Sabbath-keepers during a time of persecution, Brugger suggested that it was political, not theological, considerations that may have led to the strategy.

During World War I a portion of the German Adventist church had split off, opposing any military service. This led the National Socialists in 1936 to ban the so-called “Reform Movement” during their time in power. Brugger said concern over a Nazi closure of the main Adventist churches may have weighed on leaders in that era.

“I think during these times the official leaders of our church were afraid of losing the control over the church and losing the church because the political authorities had already . . . [confused] our church with the Reform movement,” he explained. “I think our leaders were afraid to lose the official recognition of our church, so therefore maybe they were not [as faithful] to our beliefs as would have been necessary.”

The main Seventh-day Adventist church in Germany was also briefly banned under the Nazis, notes Pöhler. A quick reversal by the regime led to relief among Adventists but also to a level of cooperation with the government that was unhealthy.

“We not only kept silent, but we also published things we never should have published. We published anti-Semitic ideas that, from our perspective, weren’t really needed,” Pöhler said in a telephone interview.

“We had to realize that one wrong statement, one wrong move by a person meant he could end up in a concentration camp,” Pöhler said of that era. “[That was the] reason why we excluded and disfellowshipped Jewish-born Adventists from our midst: If a local church had not done this, [the Nazis] would have closed the church, taken the elder to prison, and it would have meant the whole church would be forbidden.”

While some European Adventists took courageous stands to protect Jews, others went along in part because of concern for their families and churches. It would be difficult enough for an individual to reach out to a Jewish person, Pöhler explained, but to risk the lives of those in a congregation was an added burden. Such caution was even reflected in the nomenclature used by German Adventists, he said.

Daniel Heinz, director of church archives at the Adventist university in Friedensau, Germany, said his research into the stories of Adventists who helped Jews during the war led to his discovery of those who acted less honorably.
Resistance to Nazi policies, as well as the compassionate yet brave response of many Christians, among them Seventh-day Adventists, to protect lives of those under Nazi persecution, have been documented throughout Europe, including Poland, Hungary, Holland, and Denmark.

“I found some very impressive stories of Adventists who helped Jews in the Third Reich, risking their lives, and I found the opposite,” Heinz said. Among other church members, one Latvian Adventist family took in a Jewish man, hid him during the war, and survived. The refugee became an Adventist believer and church pastor after the war ended.
According to Machel, “Sixty years after World War II is late-but we saw it as the last chance for a declaration.”

Young adult church members reacted positively to the statement’s expressions of concern and contrition.

“To humbly reveal our sins and failures is the most important thing God wants us to do,” said Sara Gehler, 25. “And even though 60 years have already passed, I think it was necessary for us as [the Seventh-day Adventist] Church to take a stand on the Second World War.” She added, “It is our duty as Christians to protect and help those who are weak, helpless, and in need.”

Said John Graz, Public Affairs and Religious Liberty director for the Adventist world headquarters, “For those who believe in God’s love for every member of the human family, against any kind of discrimination based on race, religion, or gender, this declaration written by a generation which had no responsibility in the Holocaust and the war, but endorse the responsibility of their parents, will stand as a positive landmark and great encouragement.”



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Adventist Involvement With Nazi Germany, Part 2: The Brainwashing of the Children

Source material taken and adapted from
an unnamed article written by a
B. Skillet, August 2009.

nazi-child-image Adventists like to impugn other Christians for allegedly believing in “cheap grace”

They say that Christians merely use grace as an excuse to avoid keeping the Law. But there’s a funny thing about the term “cheap grace.” It entered the mainstream Christian lexicon in a book by Dietrich Bonhoeffer entitled The Cost of Discipleship. Bonhoeffer said that, “cheap grace was grace divorced from discipleship.” It was a false grace that did not call the recipient to submission to Jesus Christ. It was forgiveness without repentance, a justification that didn’t lead to transformation.

Bonhoeffer wrote The Cost of Discipleship in 1937. It was, in a sense, an indirect response to the way the state churches had embraced Hitler and Nazism. They had consented to racial purity laws within their congregation, and generally supported and even worshiped Der Fuhrer. Bonhoeffer, in contrast, had already made himself a source of scorn when, two days after Hitler was installed as chancellor, he tried to deliver a radio address calling German Christians to oppose the Nazi regime. He thought Germany had succumbed to a horrible idolatry. He was right.

But the German state church wasn’t the only denomination that gave itself up to Nazi evil. Adventists like to criticize the Catholic church for its alleged complicity in the sins of Nazism. But they conveniently gloss over the fact that, though several private SDAs tried to help the Jews, the denomination itself, and most of its adherents, were an active supporter of Hitler’s regime.

Dr. Zdravko Plantak, one-time head of the religion department at the SDA Columbia Union College, wrote a book called The Silent Church: Human Rights and Adventist Social Ethics. In it Plantak describes how the Adventist church became an active participant in the Nazi regime.

According to Plantak, Adventists schools embraced the Nazi brainwashing of children, incorporating Nazi symbols, nationalistic observances, and teachings into their curriculum. More, the President of the Seventh-day Adventist Eastern German Conference declared, “under no circumstances did any Adventist have the right to resist the government, even if the government prevented him from exercising his faith.

Adventist writings took on the call of Nazism with Der Adventbote; the official periodical of the German Seventh-day Adventist church, wrote that “the National Socialist Revolution was the greatest of all time, because it made the maintenance of a pure inheritance the basis of its ethnic life.”

In their Morning Watch Calendar, the German Adventists shamefully wrote:


Trust in his people has given the Führer the strength to carry through the fight for freedom and honour of Germany. The unshakable faith of Adolf Hitler allowed him to do great deeds, which decorate him today before the whole world. Selflessly and faithfully he has struggled for his people; courageously and proudly he has defended the honour of his nation. In Christian humility, at important times when he could celebrate with his people, he gave God in Heaven honour and recognized his dependence upon God’s blessings. This humility has made him great, and this greatness was the source of blessing, from which he always gave for his people. Only very few statesmen stand so brilliantly in the sun of a blessed life, and are so praised by their own people as our Führer. He has sacrificed much in the years of his struggle and has thought little about himself in the difficult work for his people. We compare the unnumbered words, which he has issued to the people from a warm heart, with seeds which have ripened and now carry wonderful fruit.


For those of you who don’t notice, the Calendar referenced Hitler’s sacrifices for “his struggle.” Hitler’s famous book that laid out his philosophy was called Mein Kampf, or, in English, My Struggle. Clearly, this is an open endorsement of Hitler’s philosphy by the German Adventists of the day.

Plantak continues:


It is ironic that while Adventists had insisted upon religious liberty, they did not raise a voice against the persecution of countless Jews. Instead, they even disfellowshipped those of Jewish background. At a time when German Adventists were publishing the religious liberty magazine Kirche und Staat [English: Church and State] (an outside observer noticed its primary purpose as being the opposition to the Sunday laws), they kept quiet about the 1933 purges when hundred were murdered, and they said nothing against the persecution of Jews or about the occupied territories.


Because Adolf Hitler let them keep their precious Sabbath, most Adventists didn’t oppose the Nazi Regime.

Corrie Schroder, student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, wrote a seminar paper dealing with Adventist complicity in the holocaust.
Schroder details several interesting facts:

1) The official SDA church in Germany encouraged the Nazi government to investigate and ban the rival SDA Reform denomination because, in Schroder’s words, the views of that SDA splinter group were “were far from German.” So much for “religious liberty.”

2) In exchange for being allowed to keep their precious Sabbath, the German SDA church offered to help cultivate a better image for the Nazi regime among their counterparts in the United States. The SDA denomination sent Hulda Jost, head of their church welfare system and leader of the Adventist Nurses Association, to the U.S. to convince American Adventists to support the Nazi regime. Now, to the credit of American Adventists, when Hulda began touring the U.S. spouting Nazi propaganda, they basically told her to cut out the propagandizing.

3) Though Adventists claim to believe in “separation of church and state,” they allowed their well-organized welfare system to be taken over by the Nazi government. The Adventists actually welcomed this take over. And, without any pressure from the Nazi Regime, the Adventists required that no members of the SDA Reform movement were to benefit from its welfare program.

4) In welcoming the Nazi government’s take over of their welfare program, they also had to consent to the application of racial purity laws to their welfare system. As such, they agreed to give no help to “Jews, anti-socials or undesirables.”

5) The SDA church referred to the law requiring forced sterilization of the mentally ill the mentally disabled, epileptics, drug addicts, and alcoholics as, “a great advance in the uplifting of our people.”

6) Adventists saw fit to remove “Jewish words” from their denominational lexicon. They changed “Sabbath School” to “Bible School” and “Sabbath” to “Rest Day.”

7) German SDA leadership wrote, “The pastors and members of our Church stand loyally by their Volk and fatherland as well at its leadership, ready to sacrifice life and possessions.” Writes Schroder, They were willing to sacrifice their life and possessions for the fatherland, but they were unwilling to do the same for their religious beliefs.

Many German Christians supposed that, because they were under grace, they could compromise their integrity by winking at, or even taking part in, the sins of Nazism. Adventists, in contrast, believed that in order to maintain their Sabbath and the existence of their special remnant denomiation, they had to sacrifice everything else to the Nazi ideology.

So next time an Adventist starts to lecture you about “cheap grace,” give them this article.

The Seventh-day Adventist Involvement in Hitler’s Nazi Germany

Seventh Day Adventists
Text written June 2002 by Corrie Schroder
Last Updated January 1, 2003
This Page Part of the UCSB Oral History Project

Nazi Germany was a horrible place for small denominational churches…

…because there was no religious liberty. One small denomination that survived was the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. When Adolf Hitler rose to power in Germany, the German Seventh-day Adventist denomination (hereafter referred to as Adventists) believed it was time for a strong leader in Germany. Hitler seemed to be the best candidate because of “his personal dedication and his abstinence from tea, coffee, alcohol and meat, practices shared by the Adventists, [therefore] he was welcomed as a savior.”[1]  I hope to point out, because of the willingness to compromise the decent of the German Adventist denomination from the moral issues listed below, to where they ended at the end of World War II.  They ended in compromise, loss of personal integrity, and denominational integrity, splitting of the denomination and were racially damaged as a Christian organization because they were unable to hold fast to the tenets of their beliefs.  They tied the denomination to the German State giving up their religious freedom in attempt to survive through compromises.  This position of compromise brought shame upon the German denomination as well as the worldwide denomination after the end of World War II.

The Seventh-day Adventists evolved doctrinally from the interfaith Millerite movement of 1831. Adventists believe in religious liberty, to such a point that church and state are to remain separate. They are also conscientious objectors. When Adventists are required to join the military they apply for positions where they do not have to bear arms, for example the medical corps. There are 27 fundamental beliefs that the Seventh-day Adventists believe. The following four fundamental beliefs listed are the ones that pertain to my topic:

  1. The “Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are the written Word of God.”[2]
  2. The God Head or Trinity: “there is one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, a unity of three co-eternal Persons.”[3]
  3. Spiritual Gifts and Ministries, “God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts which each member is to employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and of humanity.”[4]
  4. Christian Behavior, “We are called to be godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with the principles of heaven.”[5]

The Seventh-day Adventist denomination was not officially organized until May 21, 1863, even though the name had been chosen in 1860. At that time, the movement included 125 churches and 3,500 members.[6]  The Adventist church spread first throughout North America. After 1874, the denomination spread throughout Europe. In 1888, L.R. Conradi became the founder of the German Adventist church. He established headquarters for the Adventist Church in Hamburg, Germany in 1889.[7]  Conradi also established the first Adventist school in Germany near Magdeburg, called Friedensau Missionary Seminary.

A Seventh-day Adventist – in Germany – had many difficulties. The two main difficulties were their children had to attend school on Saturday, which is considered the Sabbath by Adventists. The second difficulty was the mandatory military service.[8] Refusing to send their children to school and not joining the military were punishable by imprisonment. The problem with the schools was solved by a compromise. The government authorities allowed Adventist children to study their bibles while in school on the Sabbath.[9]Military service posed two problems, working on the Sabbath and bearing arms. These problems were never truly solved, but “army medical examiners began to find all manner of excuses for rejecting Seventh-day Adventist recruits.”[10] This rejection of Seventh-day Adventist men ended with the start of World War I. This caused a problem within the Seventh-day Adventist denomination in Germany.

The Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement

The Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement came about because of the controversy over military service. During World War I, the German Seventh-day Adventists churches belonged to different Unions, North, South, East, and West, but all were under the guidance and control of the European Division. The European Division’s headquarters was located in Hamburg, Germany. The main problem was that most of the members serving as Division leaders lived outside of Germany and because of the war, travel and communication were difficult.[11]

With the outbreak of the war and the mobilization of troops in Germany, the German Adventist leaders decided, “Adventist men could enter the military and serve as combatants and even ignore traditional Sabbath observance.”[12] This caused major problems within the Adventist community, because they had always served in the military as non-combatants. The rank and file members believed that actively participating in war broke the fourth and sixth biblical commandments.[13] The fourth commandment is “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” When entering military service, keeping the fourth commandment is no longer a priority, because the warring sides do not take into account what day it is. The sixth commandment is “You shall not murder.” If you take a combatant role in war it is nearly impossible not to kill someone.

During the American Civil War in 1864, the Seventh-day Adventists declared,

The denomination of Christians calling themselves Seventh-day Adventists, taking the Bible as their rule of faith and practice, are unanimous in their views that its teaching are contrary to the spirit and practice of war; hence, they have ever been conscientiously opposed to bearing arms.[14]

But during World War I, the German Seventh-day Adventist denomination went against the General Conference and decided to become combatant instead of remaining non-combatant. This caused a small group of Seventh-day Adventists to split from the main body of the German Seventh-day Adventist Church. This small sect called itself the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement (hereafter referred to as the Reformers). The Reformers believed they were remaining “faithful to the law of God, upholding the original position, as taught and practiced up to that time.”[15] They were remaining faithful, because they refused to be combatants during WWI. It was acceptable to the Reformers to join the military as non-combatant, but to join as combatants was against God’s law and the doctrines of the Adventist Church.

After the World War I, the German Adventist leaders admitted that they had been wrong when they said it was not against God’s law to join the military in a combatant role. During the European Division meeting at Gland, Switzerland, on January 2, 1923, the German Adventist leaders, to show that they believed in a non-combatant role, stated that,

they were in complete ‘harmony with the general teachings of their brethren of that denomination throughout the world.’ But this declaration was weakened by the additional pronouncement which read: ‘We grant to each of our church members absolute liberty to serve his country, at all times and in all places, in accord with the dictates of his personal conscientious conviction.[16]

The leaders of the German Adventist denomination told the General Conference they were wrong in their policies during World War I. They had realized their mistake and were once again in “harmony” with the teachings and doctrines of the Adventist denomination. But they believed their members had a right to choose their own path. What this meant was the German leaders believed that Adventists should remain in non-combatant roles, but they believed their  members could decided on their own whether or not to be combatant. This statement would cause problems in the future.

There was still the breach between the Seventh-day Adventists and the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement after this meeting, which needed to be healed. L.R. Conradi, the president of the European Division, tried to justify the actions of the German Adventist leaders by explaining that the General Conference had “given German Adventists tacit approval.”[17] This tacit approval was to allow German Adventists to work on the Sabbath and bear arms. This explanation only made matters worse between the Adventists and the Reformers. Soon after World War I, the General Conference sent a delegation led by A.G. Daniells to try and heal the growing breach between the Adventists and the Reformers. A.G. Daniells stated that the “German [Adventist] leaders of the church have been wrong, but he also criticized the Reformers for setting up a separate organization and using misleading tactics to promote their views.”[18] In the end, the Reformers were disfellowedshiped from the Seventh-day Adventist Church.[19] The Reformers decided to create their own church where they “refused all military service and insisted on a rigid Sabbath observance”[20] and they would “continue with original teachings and practices of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”[21] The Reformers no longer believed it was acceptable to be non-combatant during times of war. They believed the Seventh-day Adventists were no longer following the original teachings of the Church. In Gotha, Germany, July 14-20, 1925, “the SDA Reform Movement was first organized, officially, as a General Conference, when the ‘Principles of Faith and Church Order’ were drawn up and the name ‘Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement’ was adopted.” [22]

Support for Hitler

In the Adventist town of Friedensau, Germany 99.9% voted for the Nazi parliamentary state. Even though the Adventists wanted a strong Fuhrer and supported Hitler, that support varied. The reason was because of Hitler’s contradictions about religious liberty. The departmental secretary of the South German Union Conference, M. Busch, was in support of Hitler and “approvingly quoted Hitler’s statement in Mein Kampf  that ‘for the political Fuhrer all religious teachings and arrangements are untouchable.’”[23] The Adventists believed that Hitler was for religious freedom, while the Nazi Party was against it. “Still, point 24 of the Nazi party program stated that the Party supported positive Christianity, without tying itself to any particular confession.”[24] This was a debatable problem among Christian groups because no one knew what “positive” Christianity was. This problem was never clarified and the contradiction remained. When Hitler became dictator of Germany the discussion on the contradiction ended and very soon Christian groups would know what Hitler meant by “positive” Christianity.

On November 26, 1933, the Nazi state banned the small denominational churches. Among those prohibited were the Seventh-day Adventists. The Seventh-day Adventists decided to seek legal advice on what to do about the ban and within two weeks, the ban was lifted on the Adventist denomination.[25] After this, it was decided within the denomination that “positive” Christianity meant support for the Nazi state. To show their support for the Nazi state, the Adventists sent a letter to the “Nazi Ministry of Interior an official memorandum on Adventist teachings, church organizations, social activities and attitude to the government.”[26] The Adventists also informed the Interior that there church “members hold ‘German attitudes.’”[27] Pointing out that the government’s suspicion and concern should be to a “rival schismatic group, the Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement, whose attitudes, the Adventists insisted, were far from ‘German.’[28] It seems that the Adventists were more concerned with holding German attitudes then holding Adventists attitudes.

It was because of this letter that the Nazi government noticed the Reform Adventist denomination. In trying to distance themselves from the Reformers, the Adventists led the Nazi government to them. The government investigated the Reformers and decided that they held different views from the acceptable Seventh-day Adventist denomination.[29] The Reformers were then banned on April 29, 1936.[30] The Seventh-day Adventists believe in religious liberty, but instead of voicing their outrage over the persecution of the Reformers and the Jews, the Adventist leaders decided to take action against these two groups. The Adventist leaders “issued directives to prevent the Reformers from joining the Adventist Church.”[31]  And they expelled Adventists who had a Jewish background from the Church.[32] The Adventists were unwilling to even protect their own members if they thought the Nazi government would disapprove. The state was able to control the Church because there was no religious liberty. This is not to say that individual Adventists did not help Jews or other undesirables. The Adventists were notable, for the private and individual help they gave to Jews, for not only were Jewish converts cared for and hidden, as they were in some other sectarian and church circles, but help was also given to unbaptised Jews with whom Adventists happened to come in contact.[33]

In 1935, the privileges enjoyed by Adventists, such as keeping the Sabbath, selling religious literature, money transfers that were necessary for missionary work, and certain publications were forbidden.[34] This made the German Adventists reconsider their position on religious liberty of keeping church and state separated. They knew Nazi Germany was receiving a bad public image abroad because of its treatment of small denominational churches whose home base was in the United States. If the smaller denominations were willing to help improve the Nazi image abroad, the Nazi government was willing to allow those denominations some leniency. This was the starting point of the German Seventh-day Adventist denomination sacrificing integrity and basic denominational principles. The denomination “worked with German authorities to cultivate a better image for Nazi Germany in America in order to get better treatment at home.”[35] This was accomplished through the Adventist welfare program.

The Seventh-day Adventist welfare system was considered the best in Germany. Their organization in welfare made the Adventists stand out. Through their welfare system, the Adventist Church was able to show their “Christian principles and [their] patriotic loyalty to the state.”[36]  The Nazi government was satisfied with the work the Adventists were doing but not with the language. Instead of using “Christian” it was renamed “heroic.”[37] The Adventists welfare program was incorporated into the state’s National Socialist People’s Welfare Department. The incorporation went against their belief that church and state are to remain separate. The German Adventists welcomed the incorporation of their welfare program. They believed they could accomplish greater things and help more people. But with the incorporation, the Adventists had to obey the state’s laws, which were, no Jews, anti-socials or undesirables were to be given welfare.[38] The Adventists – on their own – added that no Seventh-day Adventist Reform Movement members were to receive help.[39] The Adventists were not helping more people, in fact they were discriminating against the people who needed their help the most. Along with the welfare programs of the Adventist, the health reforms and racial hygiene became important.

The Adventists believed that along with their welfare program, their health ideals were leading the way for a new Germany. Adolf Minck, soon to be president of the German Adventist Church, said, “We are not unprepared for the new order. After all, we have helped prepare the way for it, and helped to bring it about.”[40] The problem with supporting the Nazi government in their health program was the government’s belief in the principles of Darwinism. The Adventists denominational stance was against Darwin’s principles. The German Adventists sacrificed this principle for the Nazi government. In order to gain favor with the Nazi government, the Adventists changed what was written in their publications and reformed their health message. The Adventists “frequently print[ed] negative comments about the Jews.”[41] They also tried to show that even though the Adventists teachings about the Sabbath seemed Jewish, they were not Jewish.[42] The Adventists also believed in the sterilization program. Direct statements and the reprinting of non-Adventist articles showed their support for sterilization.[43]

The mentally weak, schizophrenics, epileptics, blind, deaf, crippled, alcoholics, drug addicts – all were to be sterilized. ‘This law,’ an article in the Seventh-day Adventist paper Jugend-Leitstern said, was ‘a great advance in the uplifting of our people. [44]

The position of the German Adventists changed from “caritas, the caring for the less fortunate and weak, to elimination of the weak, as the work of God. Their strong right arm had led German Adventists to a volkisch position.”[45] The Adventists had built a “well organized, efficient welfare system that seemed particularly well suited to work with state authorities.”[46] This system allowed Hulda Jost to be recognized by the Nazi regime.

Hulda Jost was the director of Adventist welfare and the leader of the Adventist Nurses Association. The Adventist Nurses Association operated several nursing homes and provided staff for numerous hospitals within Germany.[47] In this position, she was able to establish contacts within the Nazi government and outside Europe. She was also a big supporter of Hitler and his regime. Because of her contacts, she was able to help the Adventist denomination survive during the early years. This also made her the best candidate to travel to the United States and speak on behalf of the Nazi government.

Hulda Jost’s trip to the United States was planned for 1936 because the General Conference quadrennial session was going to be held in San Francisco. An invitation was sent to Hulda Jost from the Adventist Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Between the Adventist Headquarters and the German Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Jost’s itinerary for her trip was planned. Jost arrived several months earlier to travel throughout the United States to speak on the German welfare services.[48]

Once in the United States Jost met with the General Conference vice president J.L. McElhany and her interpreter Louise C. Kleuser. Jost also had a meeting at German Embassy where she was told to avoid political controversy by speaking only on the achievements in the social service sector.[49] Jost spoke on the achievements of Germany under Hitler’s control to Adventist and other various organizations. It was not until April, that problems arose over Jost’s lectures. The problems started over a meeting with a pro-Nazi organization called Friends of the New Germany, which the German consul had set-up. The Chicago Daily News ran a story about Jost under the headline “Hitler Doesn’t want War, says Woman Leader.”[50] In the article she is quoted as having said that Hitler did not want war and the Germans were rearming because they feared Russia. When asked about the Jews, Jost said, “Hitler has merely wanted to take leadership away from the Jews but he doesn’t want to hurt them.” [51] This was the beginning of the General Conference problems with Jost.

The problems increased while in Denver, for Jost had alienated many of her listeners at a lecture by speaking so much about Hitler and the Jewish question.[52]  It seemed to the Adventist leaders that Jost was giving propaganda speeches about Hitler and his regime. She was no longer focusing on the Adventists or the welfare system in Germany. While still in Denver, Jost was pulled aside and asked by the Boulder sanitarium administrator to keep her lecture to the gospel because they did not want to hear any Hitler propaganda.[53] After her lectures in Denver, the General Conference decided it would be a good idea to keep a close rein on Jost. They gave warnings to each person Jost was to contact for her lectures. Even though the General Conference felt that Jost had become a liability towards the end of her lectures in the United States, the purpose of her mission had been accomplished. That mission was to “correct the distorted image of Germany.”[54]

Jost and the German Adventist leaders believed they had done their duty in the United States and hoped the Nazi government would be more lenient towards the Adventist denomination. But while they were in the United States, the German government passed a new decree requiring all school children to attend school on Saturday and the Adventist children were no longer allowed to study their bibles in class[55] There were also soldiers who were having difficulties in keeping the Sabbath.[56] Jost wrote a letter complaining to the high officials she knew about this new decree. She stated how the Adventists had been supporting the Nazi government and the work she was doing in the United States to improve their image. Joseph Goebbels even wrote a letter of his own to the Reich Church Ministry, but the decree was not revoked.[57] This was one case where Hulda’s connections and the trip to the United States did not help the Adventists. Yet there are other cases that show that having a powerful ally was useful.

One such case was about the investigation, by the Gestapo, of nurses belonging to the Adventist nurses association who had been dismissed because they were considered politically unreliable.[58] Jost became upset over their dismissal and did not believe the Gestapo’s report was correct, so she asked her friends in the Propaganda Ministry to look into it. The Propaganda Ministry’s report found the nurses to be “politically cleared.” Another example of Jost’s connections occurred in 1937, when a friend in the Church Ministry – who had a connection with the Gestapo – warned her about plans to dissolve the Adventist denomination.[59] With the help of her friends, Jost was able to contact higher officials in the Gestapo and stop the effort to dissolve the Adventist denomination.[60]

In March 1938, Hulda Jost passed away. Jost believed she helped the Adventist denomination survive the early years of Hitler’s regime. Jost knew she was lying while in the United States, when she said that the “Nazi authorities respected liberty of conscience as a matter of principle, and that [her] church enjoyed complete religious freedom.”[61] But she believed all her efforts and compromises to the Nazi regime would make her denomination free from the harassment of the Gestapo. The Adventist denomination was no longer separate from the state, because of Jost’s connections and actions. The Adventists believe in  the separation between church and state, but Jost went against this principle. Even with all of the compromises made in the early years, the Adventists had no security from the Nazi government. They sacrificed a main principle, separation of church and state, for nothing. Without security from the Nazi regime, the Adventists continued to make compromises with the regime.

World War II

The Second World War began when Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.  The previous year the Adventists began to remove “Jewish words” from their denomination. The word Sabbath School was no longer allowed and was replaced by the word Bible School.[62] Another word no longer allowed was the word Sabbath; this was changed within the denomination to Rest Day.[63]  With the outbreak of WWII, the government issued an ordinance preventing pastors from taking an offering in church or house-to-house.[64] There was a loophole to this ordinance, which said pastors were allowed to “levy fees on their members.”[65] This allowed small denominational pastors and churches to survive during the beginning of the war.

The Adventists in Germany continued to believe in Hitler and his regime. The publications in the late 1930s were about how Hitler was strengthening Germany and taking back the lands that had once belonged to Germany. They believed that God, himself, was leading this war and the readers of the Adventist journals could take comfort in that.[66] The East German Union president, Michael Budnick, informed the other conference presidents that Adolf Minck had been taken in by the Gestapo and informed that it was unacceptable conduct not to work on the Sabbath.[67]

The Church leaders believed that in order for the Adventist denomination to survive they needed to give instructions on April 30, 1940 to their pastors in a circular stating that “‘in total war there can only be total commitment and sacrifice.’”[68]  The problem with total war was the Church leaders did not want another split in the denomination that had occurred during WWI. In order to prevent this, the circular also told the pastors to instruct their members of the duties owed according to the Scriptures.[69] One of the Adventists’ fundamental beliefs is that the Holy Scriptures is the word of God.  The document stated that on Biblical grounds the church members should submit themselves to armed forces, because “God had commanded: ‘Submit yourselves, for the Lord’s sake, to every authority,”[70] which was quoted from 2 Peter. Along with 2 Peter, the German Adventists used Romans 13 to justify their continued support for Hitler and his regime. Romans 13 deals with the issue of submitting oneself to government authorities. The president of the East German Conference, W. Mueller, has been quoted as saying:

Under no circumstances did any Adventist have the right to resist the government, even if the government prevented him from exercising his faith. Resistance would be unfortunate because it would mark Adventists as opponents of the new state, a situation that should be prevented.[71]

This shows that German leaders did not want to resist the Nazi government. They did not want to be seen as opponents to the Nazi government. It was important to the leaders not to cause trouble in the Nazi regime. Even if the Nazi polices went against the denominational beliefs. The German Adventists leaders ignored or forgot the fact that they were supposed to submit first to God and His authority before submitting to a worldly authority.

This circular seemed to have worked, for in 1940 the government sent out a report naming the religious sects that would be allowed to continue to work in peace because they had limited themselves to religious teachings. The Seventh-day Adventists were one of the sects named.[72] Still this did not make the Adventists feel safe and they continued to compromise with the Nazi regime.

In 1941, the German government once again banned the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, but only in certain districts in the east.[73] These districts were Silesia, Danzig, and Lower Silesia. This caused some alarm within the Adventist communities, but there was nothing to be done to rescind the ban. In order to still have meetings, the Adventists met privately in members homes.[74] The S.D. noted that the Adventists in these districts were ignoring the ban, but little action was taken against the Adventists.[75]

The German Adventists continued to support Hitler and his regime until the end of World War II. The Adventists served loyally in the armed services, but most served in combatant positions and rose within the ranks.[76] This went against the denomination belief that if Adventists participate in war it must be in a non-combatant position. The Church leaders claimed, “the pastors and members of our Church stand loyally by their Volk and fatherland as well at its leadership, ready to sacrifice life and possessions.”[77] They were willing to sacrifice their life and possessions for the fatherland, but they were unwilling to do the same for their religious beliefs. The racial policies of the Nazi regime went against what Adventists believe, but the Adventists did not voice their concern. They also did not voice their objections about not having religious liberty in Nazi Germany. The German Adventists may have served their fatherland loyally, but they did not serve the Seventh-day Adventist denomination loyally.

After the War

The German Adventists continued to believe they had done the correct thing by compromising with the Nazi government. The survival of the church was what was important to the German Adventist leaders, and in order to survive they needed to compromise. Only in May 1948, did the General Conference take a closer look at the German Adventists’ actions during the Nazi regime. The reason why the General Conference took interest was because of a letter written by Major J.C. Thompson, chief of the Religious Affairs Section of the American Military Government in Berlin.[78] The letter wanted to know why the Adventists had not removed all the Nazis from their leadership positions within the denomination.[79] It also compared the Adventists to the Catholics, saying that the Catholics did not have to remove many people because of their strong opposition during the Nazi regime. There was no opposition from the Seventh-day Adventists.

The German Adventist leaders were upset with the General Conference for ordering members to step down from their positions because they had joined a Nazi organization. In order to survive in Nazi Germany, they argued, people had to join Nazi organizations. The German leaders believed the General Conference had no right to make judgments about them because of their actions during the Nazi regime. They were especially upset because the General Conference had “adopted and enforced a policy that prevented publication of any commentaries about Nazism or even fascism,”[80] in order to assist the German Adventists. The German Adventists did not like the fact they were being blamed when the General Conference was assisting them in their survival.

The General Conference had become alarmed in 1939, when they estimated that 10 percent of the German Adventists were working on the Sabbath.[81] The Sabbath is one thing that defines the Seventh-day Adventist church. With the start of World War II there was nothing the General Conference or the German Adventists could do. The German Adventists had sent out a circular telling its members to submit to the authority of the government. While this did not meet the demands of the Nazi government, it was used as evidence in the General Conference case against the German Adventists.[82]

There were several issues the General Conference had with the actions of the German Adventist leaders. Membership in a Nazi organization was of concern but not the greatest concern. The greatest concern of the General Conference was that “the denomination had been misled in its attempt to accommodate the demands of the Nazi state.”[83] The erosion of the Sabbath keeping in Germany led the General Conference to pass a resolution in 1946 on “Faithfulness and Sabbath-keeping.”[84] The German Adventists were still unwilling to admit they had been wrong. They still believed what they did was good, because it allowed for the survival of the denomination. The German leaders did not believe they had compromised any biblical principles.[85] The president of the German Adventist Church, Adolf Minck, wrote to the General Conference president, J.L. McElhany, stating, they had obeyed God’s law and the Ten Commandants. He also said that “‘they might have lived out the one and the other commandment a little different’ than in times of peace. ‘But holy did they remain to us.’”[86] This kind of reasoning of the German Adventist leaders made it hard for the General Conference to show that what they did was wrong. The German Adventist leaders interpreted the Scriptures to suit their situation. They believed that just because they were working on the Sabbath did not mean they had not kept it holy. They believed that “Scripture and Jesus taught clearly that the application of the law, rather then being absolute, was dependent on the circumstances.”[87] Their circumstance was either to work on the Sabbath or go to prison. This was not a viable choice for the German Adventist leaders. The German Adventist leaders never admitted that they made any mistakes, it was against their National pride and their continued rationalization of their actions during the Nazi regime.[88]

In conclusion, the German Adventists connected the Adventist denomination to the German state, which went against their belief of separation of church and state. They did this by allowing the Nazi government to take over the Adventists welfare program and dictating the policy. The Adventists were suppose to help those in need, instead they discriminated against those groups of people who needed their help the most. They refused to help the Jews, undesirables, and the Reformers because it would have cause trouble with the Nazi regime. The Adventists defended the Nazi regime and lied about the regime having religious liberty. Instead of speaking out against the Nazi regime and its treatment of the Jews, the Adventists remained silent. They remained silent to protect themselves. The Adventists also worked and sent their children to school on the Sabbath. Keeping the Sabbath day holy is one of the beliefs that make the Adventists different. This is one of the fundamental principle of the Seventh-day Adventists and when times got tough, they willing sacrifice this principle. The German Adventists willingly became combatants during WWII. The Adventist denomination understands that governments have a right to draft people during times of war, but the Adventists have always refused combatant roles. The German Adventists went against this policy and willingly accepted combatant roles. The Reform Adventists were not willing to sacrifice this principle and were sent to concentration camps or executed. In order to survive, the German Adventists sacrificed the standards and principles, which made them Adventists. The German Adventist leaders said they had to make the compromises in order to save the church. It is the standards, principles, beliefs, and integrity that make up the Adventist Church. By sacrificing the standards, principles, beliefs, and integrity of the Church did not save the Church, it weakened the Church. It showed how far the German Adventists were willing to go against what they believed and taught in order to save themselves. I believe the German Adventists leaders made these sacrifices in order to save themselves, not the Church. If they had wanted to save the Adventist church, the German leaders would not have compromised its integrity or gone against the church’s beliefs. It is always easier to make compromises then maintain integrity.

           

[1] Christine E. King, The Nazi State and the New Religions: Five Case Studies in Non- Conformity, (New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1982), 92.

[2]  Seventh-day Adventists Believe… A Biblical Expostion of 27 Fundamental Doctrines, Ministerial Association General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, (Maryland: Review and Herald, 1988), 4.

[3]  Seventh-day Adventists Believe, 16.

[4] Seventh-day Adventists  Believe, 206.

[5] Seventh-day Adventists Believe, 278.

[6] “Our History,” http://www.adventist.org/history/ (24 February 2002).

[7] Richard W. Schwarz and Floyd Greenleaf, Light Bearers: A History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, (Nampa: Pacific Press, 2000), 212-213.

[8] Schwarz,and Greenleaf, Light Bearers, 213.

[9] Schwarz,and Greenleaf, Light Bearers, 213.

[10] Schwarz,and Greenleaf, Light Bearers, 213.

[11] Seventh-Day Adventist Encyclopedia M-Z, ed. Don F. Neufeld, (Maryland: Review and Herald, 1996), 592.

[12] Schwarz,and Greenleaf, Light Bearers, 620.

[13] King, The Nazi State and the New Religions, 110.

[14] Cited from F.M. Wilcox, Seventh-day Adventists in Time of War, p. 58.  “Origin of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement,”<http://www.sdarm.org/origin.htm> (6 February 2002).

[15] “Origin of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement,” < http://www.sdarm.org/origin.htm >(6 February 2002).

[16] Erwin Sicher, “Seventh-day Adventist Publications and The Nazi Temptation,” Spectrum 8 (March 1977), 12.

[17] Schwarz,and Greenleaf, Light Bearers, 620.

[18]  Schwarz,and Greenleaf, Light Bearers, 620.

[19] Schwarz,and Greenleaf, Light Bearers, 620.

[20] King, The Nazi State and the New Religions, 110.

[21] “Origin of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement,” < http://www.sdarm.org/origin.htm > (6 February 2002).

[22] SDARM Good Way Series-Study 13- The SDA Reform Movement Origin <http://www.asd-mr.org.br/sdarm/way/gws-13.htm> (14 February 2002).

[23] Sicher, “Seventh-day Adventist Publications and The Nazi Temptation,” 14.

[24] Sicher, “Seventh-day Adventist Publications and The Nazi Temptation,” 14.

[25] King, The Nazi State and the New Religions,  96.

[26] Sicher, “Seventh-day Adventist Publications and The Nazi Temptation,” 15.

[27] King, The Nazi State and the New Religions, 96.

[28] King, The Nazi State and the New Religions, 96.

[29] King, The Nazi State and the New Religions, 110.

[30] Hans Fleschutz, ed., And Follow Their Faith!, (Denver: International Missionary Society ), 19.

[31] Roland Blaich, “Divided Loyalties: American and German Seventh-day Adventists and the Second World War,” Spectrum 30 (Winter 2002), 44.

[32] Zdravko Plantak, The Silent Church: Human Rights and Adventist Social Ethics, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998), 20.

[33] King, The Nazi State and the New Religions, 101-2

[34]Roland Blaich, “Selling Nazi Germany Abroad: The Case of Hulda Jost,” Journal of Church and State, vol. 35, number 4, Autumn 1993, (United States: J.M. Dawson Institute), 808.

[35] Blaich, “Selling Nazi Germany Abroad,” 807.

[36] King, The Nazi State and the New Religions, 105.

[37] King, The Nazi State and the New Religions, 105.

[38] King, The Nazi State and the New Religions, 105.

[39] King, The Nazi State and the New Religions, 105.

[40] Adolf Minck, “Reformation,” Jugend-Leitstern, (April 1933), quoted by: Roland Blaich, “Health Reform and Race Hygiene: Adventists and the Biomedical Vision of the Third Reich,” Chuch History, Vol. 65, (Pennsylvania: Science Press, 1996), 427.

[41] Sicher, “Seventh-day Adventist Publications and The Nazi Temptation,” 16.

[42] Sicher, “Seventh-day Adventist Publications and The Nazi Temptation,” 16.

[43] Sicher, “Seventh-day Adventist Publications and the Nazi Temptation,” 19.

[44] R. Sulzmann, “Erbkrank,” Gegenwarts-Frage, vol. 9, nr.1, 1934, p.8, quoted by: Sicher, “Seventh-day Adventist Publications and the Nazi Temptation,” 19.

[45] Blaich, “Health Reform and Race Hygiene,” 437.

[46] Blaich, “Health Reform and Race Hygiene,” 427.

[47] Blaich, “Health Reform and Race Hygiene,” 427.

[48] Blaich, “Selling Nazi Germany Abroad,” 809.

[49] Blaich, “Selling Nazi Germany Abroad,” 810.

[50] Blaich, “Selling Nazi Germany Abroad,” 811.

[51] Blaich, “Selling Nazi Germany Abroad,” 811.

[52] Blaich, “Selling Nazi Germany Abroad,” 811.

[53] Blaich, “Selling Nazi Germany Abroad,” 812.

[54] Blaich, “Selling Nazi Germany Abroad,” 820.

[55] Blaich, “Selling Nazi Germany Abroad,” 820.

[56] Blaich, “Selling Nazi Germany Abroad,” 820.

[57] Blaich, “Selling Nazi Germany Abroad ,”821.

[58] Blaich, “Selling Nazi Germany Abroad,” 823.

[59] Blaich, “Selling Nazi Germany Abroad,” 824.

[60] Blaich, “Selling Nazi Germany Abroad,” 824.

[61] Blaich, “Selling Nazi Germany Abroad,” 827.

[62] Jack M. Patt, “Living in a Time of Trouble: German Adventists Under Nazi Rule,” Spectrum 8 (March 1977), 4.

[63] Patt, “Living in a Time of Trouble,” 4.

[64] Patt, “Living in a Time of Trouble,” 7.

[65] Patt, “Living in a Time of Trouble,” 7.

[66] Blaich, “Divided Loyalties,” 44.

[67] Roland Blaich, “Religion under National Socialism: The Case of the German Adventist Church,” Central European History, vol. 26, number 3, (United States: Humanities Press, 1994), 270.

[68] Mr. Blaich does not say who this quote is from, but it seems to be from G.W. Schubert to the General Conference Committee, Feb. 7, 1937. Or it is from the Circular to the Conference Presidents of the East German Union, Mar. 27, 1940. Blaich, “Divided Loyalties,” 45.

[69] Blaich “Divided Loyalties,” 45.

[70] Blaich, “Divided Loyalties,” 45.

[71] “An unsere Gemeindeglieder in Deutschland,” Der Adventbote, vol. 39, nr. 17, August 15, 1933, pp. 1-4. quoted by: Sicher, “Seventh-day Adventist Publications and The Nazi Temptation,” 15.

[72] Patt, “Living in a Time of Trouble,” 7.

[73] Blaich, “Divided Loyalties,” 45.

[74] King, The Nazi State and the New Religions, 108.

[75] King, The Nazi State and the New Religions,108.

[76] Blaich, “Divided Loyalties,” 47.

[77] Blaich, “Divided Loyalties,” 47.

[78] Blaich, “Religion under National Socialism,” 225.

[79] Blaich, “Religion under National Socialism,” 225.

[80] Blaich, “Religion under National Socialism,” 266.

[81] Blaich, “Religion under National Socialism,” 270.

[82] Blaich, “Religion under National Socialism,” 271.

[83] Blaich, “Religion under National Socialism,” 274.

[84] Blaich, “Religion under National Socialism,” 274.

[85] Blaich, “Religion under National Socialism,” 275.

[86] Blaich, “Religion under National Socialism,” 275.

[87] Blaich, “Religion under National Socialism,” 275-6.

[88] Blaich, “Religion under National Socialism,” 280.

UCSB Oral History Project Homepage > Research and Teaching Homepage > Pro-Seminar Papers > Seventh Day Adventists
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ADVENTISM AND THE SABBATH: When the Truth Started as a Lie. Part 4

10672357_10152732564848384_3058835189221292784_n_1410285517467_7895470_ver1.0_640_480M.L. Andreasen stated that he had been asked certain questions in his classes as far back as 1924…

…and after a little test learned that not half of the students believed in the cleansing of the sanctuary. He thought they had not quite understood and could not believe because of the limit of their understanding. If that represents a cross section of our ministry we do not have a ministry that is profoundly convinced of the truths for which we stand. He feared that our detractors have made more inroads into our ranks than we think and that more research needs to be done to establish our doctrine. When men know they can talk it out they are more easily convinced, but he has been surprised by some saying they did not dare talk out what is in their minds.

. . . Unless we give proofs to our workers we shall have a weak ministry giving the trumpet an uncertain sound. He [C. H. Watson] would like to see this committee prepare matter to answer [L. R.] Conradi and [A. F.] Ballenger on October 22, 1844. Is it not time to meet the situation? Some of our ministers are troubled because we do not make any answer and think that we are not able to answer them. –Wierts, letter to L. E. Froom, June 29, 1945, emphasis supplied.

This was the very reason J. H. Wierts first approached the General Conference with his concerns. It was not to destroy the Church that these problems in chronology were presented but, rather, because truth does not contradict itself. Either the Church had made a mistake in a very fundamental area, or else there was more light Heaven wanted to bestow.

As the Research Committee shifted from October 22, 1844, to focus on the crucifixion date, they quickly and clearly saw the full ramifications of what they were dealing with. It is here that the research, led by Grace Amadon, quickly began to deteriorate. It was of the utmost importance for them to be able to establish a crucifixion date in AD 31. However, in order to do this and still keep a Saturday Sabbath, certain principles of luni-solar calendation had to be skewed. Various papers in the Grace Amadon Collection reveal the different ways the committee, led by Amadon, attempted to resolve the problem, from trying to put the crucifixion on the 15th of Abib, to, finally, creating a translation period (when no moon can be seen) that was far too long to be astronomically feasible.

From the papers preserved in the Amadon Collection, it appears that the Research Committee discussed the implications of presenting the church with the truth of the Biblical calendar. In an undated letter to Grace Amadon, M. L. Andreasen outlined the difficulties that must be expected if they should report the truth: the Biblical week does not have a continuous weekly cycle and certainly does not align with the modern weekly cycle.

It would not be easy to explain to the people that the God who advocated and instituted such an arrangement would be very concerned about the exact seventh day.

If an explanation were possible, and the people were at last adjusted to the shift in the feast day and the stability of the seventh day, it might be supposed that in time they would get used to the arrangement. But they would no sooner have become accustomed to this, till another shift is made. Now they shift back to where they were before.

But neither is this settled or stationary. Another shift comes, and another and another. Now Denver observes the day before Omaha does, then it observes the same day. Now Omaha and Chicago observe the same day, but at another time a different day. There is no uniformity, and just as the people get used to a certain arrangement the day is changed again. Such is more than the common people can understand, and if we go to the people now with such a proposition, we must expect that confusion will result. And our enemies will not be slow to point out the difficulties and ring the changes on them.  —M. L. Andreasen, undated letter to Grace Amadon, Grace Amadon Collection, Box 2, Folder 4, Center

Because the Biblical weekly cycle restarts with every New Moon, the Biblical Sabbath appears to “float” through the modern Gregorian week. Sometimes being on Monday; the next month on Tuesday; the month after on Thursday, etc. This is the constant “shift” to which Andreasen is referring in his statements.

In the end, the difficulties of presenting a new calendar by which to calculate the seventh-day Sabbath seemed overwhelming. Andreasen urged that the resulting confusion would be only detrimental to the church and for that reason, it should not be pursued.

If in the new calendar scheme we are considering adopting it should be admitted that local communities have the right of making their own observations that would determine the New Year, it would yet remain a question if the proper men competent for such observation would be available. . . . Let not the people observing God’s holy day sponsor a calendar that means confusion, and make our work unnecessarily hard. For while the proposed scheme does not in any way affect the succession of the days of the week, and hence does not affect the Sabbath, nevertheless if the people observing the Sabbath also advocates the new scheme of calendation, the resulting confusion will not be of any help to us.

. . . While the whole matter would ultimately become adjusted, it would certainly make for confusion. Seventh-day Adventists will soon have enough matters on their hands so that it will not be necessary to make trouble for ourselves before the time. The blank day may yet confront us. We cannot afford to start trouble of our own. To the world it will look that the present proposed calendar is advanced for a specific purpose – not for the purpose of adoption, for we will find that it is impossible of universal application – not for the purpose of supporting the 1844 date. I do not believe that we are under that necessity. It must be possible to establish October 22, 1844, without resorting to such devices.  M. L. Andreasen, undated letter to Grace Amadon, Grace Amadon Collection, Box 2, Folder 4, Center for Adventist Research, Andrews University, emphasis supplied.

It is not speculation to state that Andreasen rejected the Biblical calendar through fear of the consequences. He stated as much himself:

The committee has done a most excellent piece of work. The endorsing, unreservedly, of the plan now before us seems to me, appears in its implications so loaded with dynamite, with TNT, that we might well beware. I would most earnestly warn the committee in this matter. I am afraid that the repercussions of such endorsement at this time will be felt in wide circles. –Ibid.

Andreasen’s proposed solution to the situation is a heart-breaking example of political expediency taking precedence over truth:

A possible solution: I suggest that we make a report to [GC President] Brother McElhaney of what the Millerites believed and how they arrived at their conclusions, without, at this time, committing ourselves upon the correctness of their method. Let Brother McElhaney publish this report in any way it may be thought best, and let us await the reaction. This, of course, would be only a preliminary report, and would be so designated. We will soon [see] what fire it will draw. In the mean time let us study further on the final report. The reaction to the preliminary report may determine the form of the final report.M. L. Andreasen, undated letter to Grace Amadon, Grace Amadon Collection, Box 2, Folder 4, Center for Adventist Research, Andrews University, emphasis supplied.

In other words, Andreasen was urging, let us focus on how the Millerites established October 22, rather than September 23, as the Day of Atonement for 1844, but let us not come right out and admit that we agree with how they established it. Let us test the waters and, depending upon the reaction to our test, we can know whether or not we wish to say more.

This is not intellectual honesty! It is intellectual cowardice. Truth remains the same, regardless of the reaction against it. Andreasen was most eloquent in his arguments in favor of staying silent about the effect the Biblical calendar has on the weekly seventh-day Sabbath. He wrote a number of letters in which he urged the Research Committee to remain silent on the subject.

These letters are not available to the general public. Apparently, the church still considers the content too revealing, too explosive to want it released. Copies of these letters were given to the members of the Research Committee of 1995, but the committee members were not allowed to leave the room with them. “We would have made copies of them, but they picked them up before they let us leave the room,” recalled a committee member.

Ultimately, cover it up is exactly what the original Research Committee did. The GC Committee Minutes of May 31, 1939 state:

A committee that was appointed to do certain research work presented a statement concerning their extensive report which is now ready. It was felt that this report should be presented to as representative a group as possible, and it was therefore VOTED, To set July 9 and 10, beginning at 9 A.M., July 9, as the time for hearing the report in order that the union conference presidents, who will be in attendance at the General Conference Committee meeting in New York City just preceding this date, may be present; and further, that the officers be asked to invite any others they may think advisable, to be present when the report is given. J. H. Wierts, letter to L. E. Froom, June 29, 1945, Grace Amadon Collection, Box 5, Folder 9.

Strangely enough, although the meeting did take place, there appears to be no record of it. Perhaps, as with the Andreasen letters given to the 1995 Committee to read, it was considered too damaging and has simply not been made available to the general public. It is certainly unusual for a meeting of this type to leave no record, save for references to it in personal correspondence by people who attended.

The full scope of this meeting can be grasped from a description provided by J. H. Wierts who was also in attendance:

At this meeting were present all the General Conference members available, all the Union Presidents in the U.S., many Bible teachers, many Ministers and many others. The reading of the R.C.’s [Research Committee’s] Report started at 9:30 A.M. and the meeting ended about 10:00 P.M.J. H. Wierts, letter to L. E. Froom, June 29, 1945, Grace Amadon Collection, Box 5, Folder 9.

ADVENTISM AND THE SABBATH: When the Truth Started as a Lie. Part 3

full moonOverWater[As we have observed in our first 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!

As also 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 this THIRD post on the subject:.

  1. If the Seventh-day Adventist Church is knowingly teaching a “Sabbath” other than the true Sabbath, are they, by their own Biblical definition, a “False Prophet?
  2. By their own Biblical definition, are they a part of Babylon? Are they an “Apostate Church”?
  3. What is the reasonable thing for you to do?
  4. What would you do if you were in the Adventist leadership position?  Why?  What would Jesus say?]

Despite the clear understanding the Millerites had of the luni-solar foundation for an October 22 Day of Atonement, the young Seventh-day Adventist Church quickly forgot the foundation on which this hallmark doctrine had been built.

Barely 50 years later, (evidence suggests sometime in the 1890s), a young minister by the name of J. H. Wierts was shocked to learn through his Hebrew teachers, rabbis, that October 22 had not been Yom Kippur in 1844, but, according to them, September 23 had been.

Wierts immediately saw the ramifications of what he had discovered. If October 22 truly had not been the Day of Atonement for 1844, it opened up the church for attack by its detractors on a number of points. Years later, in a letter to L. E. Froom, dated June 29, 1945, Wierts recalled:

In contact with Jewish Rabbis my Hebrew Teachers, I discovered many years ago from their Hebrew records, that the Rabbinical Jewish day of Atonement in 1844 fell on Monday, September 23. I then determined to make a careful investigation on this important point.

Because of my aquaintance [sic.] with Dr. Eichelberger at the U. S. Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C. I had access to any astronomical record at the Observatory. By those astronomical records I discovered and worked out the Biblical, Chronological, Calendrical, astronomical facts relative to 457 B.C., 27 A.D., 31 A.D. and October 22, 1844, A.D. and found that all that important data in “Great Controversy” was correct even to the day.

His meticulous research finally culminated in a manuscript of 283 pages in length. “Knowing also that sooner or later our adversaries would challenge us on all that important data,” Wierts began in 1932 to appeal to various General Conference officials for the church to conduct an official investigation into the subject. His efforts appear to have met with little success for most of six years.

Finally, on November 1, 1938, the GC officials voted:

To authorize E. D. Dick to confer with M. E. Kern and bring to the officers the suggestion of a committee for a conference with J. H. Wierts regarding the position of the denomination in respect to the date October 22, 1844 and the day of the crucifixion. (Council of GC Officers with J. H. Wierts, OM, Nov. 1, 1938, emphasis supplied.)

It is important to note that, from the first, the focus covered, not only the true date for Day of Atonement in 1844, but also the correct day for the crucifixion. The two are inseparably entwined because when the principles of luni-solar calendation (used to determine Day of Atonement for 1844) are applied to the year of the crucifixion, it is undeniable that there is a problem. Specifically, the crucifixion, which occurred on the sixth day of the Biblical week, did not fall on Friday of the Julian week. This was the dilemma for which, in the end, they could not find a resolution without admitting that Saturday is not the Biblical seventh-day Sabbath.

On November 7, 1938, a committee was formed to study the subject. Initially called the Advent Research Committee, it consisted of Adventist luminaries, well-respected for their theological knowledge. Dr. Leroy Froom was elected to chair the committee. Dr. Lynn Harper Wood served as secretary. The other members were Dr. M. L. Andreasen, Professor M. E. Kern, Professor W. Homer Teesdale, Professor Albert W. Werline and Elder F. C. Gilbert.

In reporting on their initial research to the GC officers, Dr. Froom

Stated that as chairman of the committee he wanted to present certain problems they had met on which they desired counsel. The contention has been raised by some of our detractors that the Jews celebrated the Passover on September 23, of the year 1844, and that the denomination therefore had the date wrong. It has been proven, however, that September 23 was celebrated only by the Rabbinical Jews, but that the Orthodox Karaite Jews held to the correct date and had to this day. We must ascertain the reasons back of the choosing of October 22, 1844, which we have followed all these years. Some of our men also seem not to be sure of the date on which the crucifixion occurred . . . . (Minutes, Officers Meeting, December 18, 1939, emphasis supplied.)

The result of this initial report had far-reaching consequences – a new member was added to the committee:

Brother Froom stated further that we needed astronomical and chronological data to establish these dates beyond question . . . They also are united in the judgment that Miss Grace Amadon who has studied the astronomical aspects of these dates for a number of years, contacted astronomers and astronomical authorities to considerable extent, could offer the committee some real assistance if she could be present here in person and study the matter through with them under their guidance . . .

L. E. Froom stated that Grace Amadon has done enough work on the astronomical aspects of October 22, 1844, to be of value to the committee, that if she comes she would work under supervision to assist the special group of the committee dealing with that particular phase of the study. We might need her for four or five weeks and she might do some things that the members of the committee are not qualified to do. (Ibid.)

It seemed a logical choice to invite Miss Amadon to join the committee. She was the granddaughter of Adventist pioneer John Byington. She had received her education at Battle Creek and was fluent in a number of languages, including Greek and Latin. She excelled in mathematics and after doing a stint in the mission field from 1893-1899, she worked for a college in Chicago where she worked as a bacteriologist, teaching a number of science classes. She was also a skilled writer with several articles she had written on chronology being published in scholarly journals.

imagesE5J16NW2The work done by Amadon and the Research Committee was extensive. Their work has, for the most part, been preserved in the Grace Amadon Collection, housed at the Center for Adventist Research at Andrews University. The research they did, explaining precisely how the Millerites arrived at October 22 for Day of Atonement, as well as the broad outlines of luni-solar calendation, is very good and provides a solid foundation for understanding these issues. However, when they attempted to fit the Passover crucifixion on Abib 14 of the Biblical calendar to Friday on the Julian calendar, they ran into irreconcilable facts.

The first is the simple fact, easily established by history, that the Julian calendar in the time of Jesus had an eight-day week, designated by the days A through H. This fragment of an early Julian calendar, called the Fasti Prænestini, was constructed AD 4 – 10. To the left is a list of days spanning parts of two weeks: G, H, A, B, C, D, E, and F. The words to the right indicate what sort of business could be conducted on those particular days of the week.

In 1944, the Review & Herald Publishing Association published a book for the Ministerial Association of Seventh-day Adventists. The book, Sunday in Roman Paganism, was subtitled: “A history of the planetary week and its “day of the Sun” in the heathenism of the Roman world during the early centuries of the Christian Era.” It openly admitted that the seven-day planetary week in use today was not standardized into general use until the Council of Nicæa in the fourth century AD.

But that was not the only problem. If one assumes that the modern week has come down uninterrupted from Creation, then, by counting in continuous weeks backward, one should be able to align Abib 14 with Friday in the year of the crucifixion (AD 31, as understood by SDAs from the prophecies of Daniel). However, when this is done, you arrive at Wednesday, (at the very latest, Thursday), for the Abib 14 Passover crucifixion. You cannot place Abib 14 on Friday.

The fact that this problem was clearly understood by the committee is seen in their discussions, as preserved in committee minutes and various correspondences between Research Committee members and others, as well as the questions they asked in the voluminous letters preserved in the Grace Amadon Collection. For example:

Though William Miller fixed the date as 1844 he still put the cross at the end instead of the middle of the prophetic week. We have never gone to the bottom of the matter. Our task now is a major one of showing why we insist on the 70 years and the 2300 years beginning at the same time. Some of the old writers confirm the beginning of 457 BC but do not define the “midst of the week. . . . L. E. Froom stated that we could easily supply facts on what was done in 1844 but we must get the facts back of what led to the choice of the date October 22, 1844. It is the same with the date of the crucifixion.” (Minutes, Officers Meeting, December 18, 1939, emphasis supplied.)

The doctrine of the cleansing of the sanctuary as taught by Seventh-day Adventists, is inseparably bound with October 22, 1844, and an AD 31 crucifixion date. They stand together as a united whole, or they fall by the same measure because the calendar used to establish those dates reveals that the weekly cycle of the modern Gregorian week does not align with the weekly cycle of the Biblical week in use at the time of Jesus.

These are legitimate issues and for too long the church has not had a resolution for them. But refusing to address the subject does not make it go away.

Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

–John 9:41

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.)

ADVENTISM AND THE SABBATH: When the Truth Started as a Lie. Part 1

[Once again, a great debt of thanks is due to just a handful of people. 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:

  1. Is the basis of Adventist Sabbatarianism valid?
  2. Are people correct in their determination that the historical, biblical Sabbath, is different than what is understood and practiced today?
  3. Did the leaders of Adventism, then and now, know and understand that there was a problem in its calculation?
  4. If they knew at the beginning that there was a problem, and they know now there is a problem, why haven’t they addressed it with the church’s membership?  –And to God in repentance, and on their knees?

It is not lightly that we tread here. The understanding and realization that the faith of many will eventually be tested; their true spiritual identity will be both shaken and revealed, is a fact that should cause all of us to enter into this discussion with meekness and in prayer.]

LunarThesis Statement: When the Sabbath is calculated by the true Biblical calendar, it will fall differently than on the Saturday as it is worshipped on today.
Thesis Question: If the Sabbath on the Biblical calendar does not fall on Saturday, and if the Adventist Leadership knows this, why does the Seventh-day Adventist Church still teach that Saturday is the true Biblical Sabbath, unchanged since creation?

 The history of the Sabbath within the Seventh-day Adventist Church…

This is the sad story of a cover-up spanning decades. Heaven has tried many times to bring this truth to the world, but each time spiritual pride or fear of the consequences of accepting such a radically different truth has led the Church to reject it and, still more, to cover up the evidences for this truth.

In the mid-1990s, questions arising out of California and Washington regarding the concept of the lunar Sabbath prompted the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (GC) to take action. In 1995, an order originating from the office of then-GC president, Robert Folkenberg, Sr., commissioned a study group to look into the issue of calculating the Sabbath by the ancient Hebrew luni-solar calendar.

The committee members consisted of five scholars, hand-picked from the seminary at Andrews University. In addition to these five, there was also a representative from the Ministerial Department of the North American Division (NAD) of Seventh-day Adventists and another representative from the ministerial Department of the General Conference. Robert M. Johnston, professor of New Testament and Christian Origins at the seminary, was selected to head this research committee. No representative from the Biblical Research Institute was on the committee as it was felt that the well-respected scholarship of the various members was of sufficient authority that it was not needed.

The vaults were thrown open for the committee. They were asked to research the Grace Amadon Collection (housed at the Center for Adventist Research at Andrews University) as well as the four volume series, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, by Leroy Edwin Froom. Additional material supplied the committee for study was a series of letters, written by well-respected Adventist scholar, M. L. Andreasen. A research paper on the subject by Elder J. H. Wierts was to be provided, but before it could, something unexpected happened.

It had been expected that the committee would be able to very quickly refute the idea of a lunar Sabbath. What was not expected was what actually happened: as the committee members began studying into the subject, a number of them became convicted of its truth!

The fact is, the entire Seventh-day Adventist denomination was founded upon a belief that the 2300 day/year prophecy of Daniel 8:14 ended on October 22, 1844, as taught by the Millerite Movement of the 1840s. This is significant because the only way to arrive at that date is by using the ancient Biblical luni-solar calendar.

As far back as April, and then in June and December of 1843, and in February of 1844 (1)– months before [William] Miller’s original date expired for the ending of the “Jewish year 1843” at the time of the vernal [spring] equinox in 1844 – his associates (Sylvester Bliss, Josiah Litch, Joshua V. Himes, Nathaniel Southard, Apollos Hale, Nathan Whiting, and others) came to a definite conclusion. This was that the solution of Daniel’s prophecy is dependent upon the ancient or original Jewish form of luni-solar time, and not upon the altered modern rabbinical Jewish calendar. . . . They therefore began to shift from Miller’s original date for the ending of the 2300 years (at the equinox in March), over to the new moon of April, 1844. –Leroy E. Froom, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. 4, p. 796. (2)

Without the original luni-solar calendar, there would be no Day of Atonement on October 22 in 1844. This ancient method of time-measurement was the very foundation for determining the time prophecy and the cleansing of the sanctuary doctrine which is the hallmark belief of the Seventh-day Adventist Church which grew out of the Millerite movement.

It is important to note in the quote above that a distinction must be made between the “ancient or original Jewish form of luni-solar time” and the “altered modern rabbinical Jewish calendar” in use by Jews around the world today.

The calendar used by Jews today is not the same as was used in Bible times.

Under intense persecution following the Council of Nicæa,] the Jews “fixed” their calendar to align with the continuous weekly cycle of the Julian calendar. Consequently, the Jews in 1844, kept Day of Atonement, or “Yom Kippur,” on September 23, and not on October 22 as the Millerites and later the Seventh-day Adventists claimed was the true Day of Atonement.

The fact that the Jews observed Day of Atonement on September 23 and not October 22 was a fact well-known to the Millerites.

There were many in 1844 who made merry over a lunar reckoning that was not based upon the modern Jewish calendar. The answer was returned: “Every scholar knows that we are correct as to the Karaite [original Jewish] seventh month.” The Millerites were well aware of the rabbinical seventh month in September in 1844, and the circumstance was often mentioned in their papers. At the same time they were emphatic in their challenge that they dissented from the modern Jewish calendar because it did not agree with the laws of Moses. (3)

Heaven used the Millerite Movement to restore to the world a knowledge of the original calendar of Creation, uncorrupted by the later traditions of rabbinical Jews reconciling their observances to the pagan Julian calendar.

Painstakingly studying the Karaite [Jewish] protest in the Middle Ages against the Rabbinical perversion of the calendar, they at last deliberately and irrevocably accepted, restored, and applied to their time-prophecy problem, the earlier calendation championed by the Karaites. And this they did in defiance of the whole body of Rabbinical scholarship and the general current practice of Jewry which change was introduced in the same century and at approximately the same time that the Roman Church . . . changed the Sabbath by church law from the seventh to the first day of the week. (4)

What wisdom . . . the Lord gave those earnest God-fearing and sincere believers . . . to proclaim to the world that they were following the calendar adopted by the Karaite Jews, – those Jews who profess to follow the Scripture rather than following the calendar adopted by the rabbinical orthodox Jews who were following a calendar which they admit is inaccurate in its mode of reckoning. –F. C. Gilbert

The Millerites knew the ancient luni-solar calendar so well that they were able calculate, in advance, the Day of Atonement. Without this understanding, there would have been no “Seventh-Month Movement,” no “Midnight Cry,” and later, no cleansing of the sanctuary doctrine within Adventism. It is not too strong a statement to say that without the luni-solar calendar, there would be no 2300-day doctrine within the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The problem is when the Sabbath is calculated by the original Biblical calendar, it 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, does not fall on Friday!

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I will try by God’s grace to make one post each week as I am able. –MWP
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  1. See Midnight Cry, April 27, 1843, p. 30; Signs of the Times, June 21, 1843, p. 123; Dec. 5, 1843, pp. 133-136; Midnight Cry, Feb. 22, 1844, pp. 243, 244.
  2. Bold in original; italics supplied.
  3. Grace Amadon, “Millerite Computation of the October 22 Date,” Box 2, Folder 4, Grace Amadon Collection, Center for Adventist Research, Andrews University.
  4. Amadon, “Courageous Action of Millerites on ‘Jewish Calendar’ Problem,” Box 2, Folder 4, Grace