The Feast for Supper

533703_204035749759642_11397564_nI remember as a child that we were very poor.

My father, a good man, was out of work again; seems like that happened often when we were young. Mother, helpless to do anything about it, was really upset about this, and dad was pretty angry too, but mostly at himself. After an exchange of a few unkind words, I heard the screen door slam shut, and my father stomp off… turning to my mother I said to her, “mommy, I am hungry. What’s for supper?”

She quickly scooped me up and carried me over to the rocking chair, and began to quietly sing to me, “Under His Wings,” while rapidly rocking me the whole time. Holding me tightly, she just rocked me there for a while, quietly singing.

As she was doing so, someone knocked on our screen door; it was a neighbor, “I just brought by some fish I caught this afternoon. Could you use any?” he asked. Some fish would be lovely my mother replied. He helped her put a bunch of fish wrapped in newspaper in the sink, and my mother thanked him.

I hadn’t seen the tears, but she was wiping her eyes. She grabbed me again, holding me and sat down in the old rocker, and started singing again, “Under His wings…” After a little while, the old man who lived across the street from us, stomped his foot on the rickety wooden porch and said, “I got my arms full tomatoes, would you mind taking a bag?” “I wouldn’t mind at all,” my mother replied. “I think some fresh tomatoes would really go very well with the fish tonight. Thank you Peter!”

No sooner, had the old neighbor had walked back, and we had put the tomatoes on the counter, admiring each one for its size, color, and that pleasing aroma, that ripe smell tomatoes give when they are fresh, when a friend from church drove up, and told mother that they had just picked an extra bushel of corn down at the farm, and was just thinking of us. “Could we use any?”

My mother, was really beside herself at this point, and looking back at the whole scene now, I can greatly admire her firm bravery. With the smile on her face, and the straightness in her back, you would have thought that there wasn’t a thing wrong in the world, but as I look back now, I know that she must have been hurting pretty fierce.

When everyone was gone, I think that she got a little weak kneed, for she sat back down in the rocker again for a spell. She didn’t rock as fast this time, and she didn’t sing, just kind of kept clearing her throat.

My father came in about then, looking around in bewilderment at all the food, he just kind of stood there, mother asked if he could clean the fish, and she would get supper together.

That night, we had a feast. It seemed like it was all my favorite foods. And even though there wasn’t a lot of small talk at the table that evening, I didn’t notice, because I was busy eating.

I will never forget that song my mother sang to me. I didn’t realize the significance of what was happening at that moment, nor of the song, but as I have reflected back on my early childhood I realize that God was with us even back then. And from moments just like that, I have come to believe that he is with me even now, and will provide for my needs as his own Divine counsel wills. Has he provided for you? Have you thanked him?

Under His wings I am safely abiding,
Though the night deepens and tempests are wild,
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me,
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.

Refrain

Under His wings, under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide,
Safely abide forever.

Under His wings, what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blessed.

Refrain

The Old and Battered Cup

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I see before me an old and battered cup…

Upon this cup many a dirty lip has touched, and from which many a condemned villain’s throat has received moisture. This cup is marred and covered over with scars. There is nothing in the looks of the cup itself that attracts attention. It has been passed by many a wealthy person; it has been forgotten by many of a busy person, and many a prideful person has actually scorned to drink its liquid.

We look at this cup, and it seems our attention immediately begins to wander. We forget whose cup it was. We forget and let fade the terrible sacrifice upon that great altar, the altar that stood between heaven and earth and had once commended the rapt attention of angels.

Some say that this cup is a cup of anger. And by the looks of it, this cup has certainly received anger. Look at the sides. Here you see what looks like a systematic scoring. You can even count many of the slashes; 36, 37, 38, 39, maybe even more. There are other marks and dents, some larger, some smaller, where something or someone tried to beat and twist the cup out of shape, but they did not succeed. However, the greatest battering appears to have come from above, coming from the top, here it looks like a great force was exerted that would have undoubtedly destroyed any other lesser vessel; smashed it flat. But as we can see before us, the vessel still stands. –”So His appearance was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men.”

Yes, the great sacrifice was made, and though now largely forgotten, it will not stay that way. “Nations all over the world will be in awe, taken aback, kings shocked into silence when they see him. For what was unheard of they’ll see with their own eyes, what was unthinkable they’ll have right before them.”

For this is the cup which is poured out for you, it is the New Covenant. But will the worldly rich, the distracted, and those too busy, –will they ever taste this cup? No. For though to drink from the cup is free to all, none but the thirsty are invited.

Come, drink. For this cup is offered to you.

Written by Michael W. Pursley

Cults, Divinity of Religion and the Formation of Theology

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It is I believe, a truth self-evident, stemming from the nature of Christianity…

…that you can neither see the richness of Christianity as a religion, nor enjoy its benefits, nor be covered by the depths of its grace, if you only hold to a few of its principles in a loose and random fashion, and to do so separately from the whole of it.

william-millerFurther, it bears to reason, that if you do not consider each of Christianity’s components, or the components you are examining within the context of the whole system of truth, you will have no self-checking, self-correcting guide to keep your considerations from veering off the narrow path of the truth as God has given it. For we see that religion, by its very definition, forms a system which is complete as a body of coherent doctrines, closely connected, perfect in harmony, and absolute in its teachings.

To be sure, as pastor James Saurin has pointed out, “Nothing better proves the divinity of religion, than the connection, harmony, and agreement of its component parts.”

May15-1984WTcoverHalfSizeConsistent to this proposition; is this fashion of non-regulative theological formulations that many of the newer, “New,” and “New Age” denominations have veered off into believing. For in their obstinacy of opinion, that they have founded “new brands” of Christianity that are non-biblical in character. For by holding tightly to certain ill-shaped doctrines, prophecies, etc., many of these so-called “Christian” denominations have viewed specious systems of thought singularly, alone, as unto themselves, that is to say, to the exclusion of the Bible’s main teachings and its central “grand truths.” And in doing so, whatever their protestations, they have by practice committed heresy, all the while proclaiming commitment to Christ and loyalty to scripture.

Originally, Heresy did not mean flagrant dissent or deviation from a dominant doctrine opinion, practice, or dogma. Rather, it was simply a slight turning, a slight shading of truth, and a gradual veering away from what was considered biblical orthodoxy. In essence it was a small adding to and slight twisting of a body of truth.

As Spurgeon once said, “The root of every heresy in history is adding something of our own to the work of Christ.”

Lesson 37 2 Nephi 27 Prophecy of the Book of MormonToday’s Christian student can readily see how that down throughout the Christian era, men have wantonly contrived chains of theological systems to please themselves. If we were to cut to the chase, we can see that in the final analysis they have, for their own purposes and convictions, substituted doctrines of their own imagination and preferences, into teachings that have skewed the systematic body of doctrine which God has given us in holy scriptures.

Understanding why and how these groups formulate theology is important to understanding their unrepentant obstinacy, especially in their maintaining, and advancing such unwholesome religions. For of all obstinate people, none excel more in these dreadful kind expositions, than those who are prejudiced in favor of their own self-contrivances.

downloadA person or a group prepossessed with self-contrived imaginary systems of theology is seldom teachable. Why? Because he knows, that if one link be taken away, his chain falls to pieces; and that there is no removing a single stone from his building without destroying the whole edifice. On the other hand, if infatuation with self-contrived doctrinal systems has occasioned so many disorders in the church, the opposite disposition, I mean, the obstinate rejection of all orthodoxy, or the careless composition of some parts of it, has been equally hurtful: for it is no less dangerous, in the system of Christian religion, to omit what really belongs to it, than it is to incorporate anything foreign into it.

Therefore, one can see that in the Christian religion, which has its doctrines in such harmony and in such connection, and which has its body of doctrine so systematic, so symmetrical, compact, and united, ought not to be taken apart by bits and pieces, without a consistent and repeated evaluation and application to the whole.

Once again, as Saurin points out,

“Apply this to spiritual things. In a compact system, in a coherent body of doctrine, there is nothing useless, nothing which ought not to occupy the very place that the genius who composed the whole hath given it. What will become of religion if we consider any of its doctrines separately? What becomes of religion if we consider the holiness of God without his justice, or his justice without his mercy?”

11-27To acquire a complete knowledge of Christian truths and doctrines, one cannot study them by one’s self amid silence; we must converse with others who study them also. And we must also understand the bible and its doctrines as it was seen and understood from other great Christians of the church, who together with solemn unity have spoken down throughout the ages to the truths which were “once for all, handed down to the saints.”

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