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Seventh-day Adventism
1844–1845 Errors and their Associated Confusions Continuing Today . . .
Remember: The test of truth does not lie in proof texts,
but in the certainty that a particular understanding is NOT contradicted by ANY text of Holy Scripture.
Ellen G H White
Mrs Ellen White
See summary
of her doctrines.
Introduction
As a Christian movement the Seventh-day Adventist churches have their origin and special focus in end-time prophecies.
These views were formulated in particular from the teachings of Ellen White who is unfortunately regarded among them as an inspired Christian prophetess – 
"her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth"
(MA 1988:216, see Bibliography below).
 
Because of the foundational and continuing influence of Ellen G.H. White's writings on the Seventh-day Adventist movement, it is appropriate to deal with her 'authoritative' teachings directly.  
However,
because Seventh-day Adventism also confesses that the Bible is the only final authority in matters of doctrine and practice and that "understanding is ever progressive" (MA 1988:vii) the following is written with the prayer that this contribution will add to their greater understanding of the Word of God and may lead to enhancements and changes in the belief system of this Christian movement.
 
In
all that is here said it is vital to remember that Christ's precious Body, the fellowship of His people, does not consist of uniformity of doctrine!  While vigorous debate among believers and ruthless re-examination of teachings against the Bible's awesome revelation in word and in perspective is right and proper to the life of a spiritually healthy people – our unity is greater than our differences, if we are Christian. This is so for our unity is based only on a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ!
 
If
anyone claims to have this relationship to Christ we have no right to deny the unseen, but we do have an important responsibility to hold each other to account for conduct and teaching in the light of His precious Word (2 Timothy 2:19).

Amen!
   Sin Transferred Away [according to Mrs White].  
Ellen
White's basic error of understanding is to see Israel's Mosaic ritual as an earthly model of Heavenly events. This, coupled with her misinterpretation of Daniel 8 to give the date of October 22 1844, meant that to her Christ's ministry as our High Priest changed on that date by His entering Heaven's Holy of Holies to cleanse God's Sanctuary in fulfilment of the Mosaic Day of Atonement (Yom Kippor) ritual (White 1888:425).
 
Her
teaching that Heaven's Sanctuary needed cleansing arises from a very strange view of how sin is forgiven, namely by transference. By faith the sins of believers were laid upon the crucified Christ. On His Ascension, Christ's blood presented within Heaven's Holy of Holies transferred these sins to God's Sanctuary. This Sanctuary is now in the process of being cleansed of these sins, after which they will be transferred to Satan as substitute to bear them away forever. So our sins are transferred in three steps  –
1. 
from the believer to Christ at His Crucifixion;
2. 
from Christ to the Sanctuary at His Ascension;
3. 
from the Sanctuary to Satan at His Return, who in turn bears our sins away as God's 'scapegoat'
White 1888:485-6.
This
cleansing of God's Sanctuary ( that is thus necessary in this theory) is explained by Ellen White as an "investigative judgment" to see if the sins of believers, living and dead, deserve to be forgiven by the penitent character and conduct of each believer.
 
To
Mrs White then, a Christian's state of forgiveness is only a 'probation' until after a process in Heaven that is supposed to have begun in 1844. I quote (emphasis is mine):
 
  "Since the dead are to be judged out of the things written in the books, it is impossible that the sins of men should be blotted out until after the judgment at which their cases are to be investigated ...As the priest (of Israel), in removing the sins from the sanctuary, confessed them upon the head of the scapegoat, so Christ will place all these sins upon Satan ...At the time appointed for the judgment - the close of the 2300 days, in 1844 – began the work of investigation and blotting out of sins." (White 1888:485/6).  
  "We are now living in the great day of atonement. In the typical service (Israel's sanctuary as a 'type'), while the high priest was making the atonement for Israel, all were required to afflict their souls by repentance of sin and humiliation before the Lord, lest they be cut off from among the people. In like manner, all who would have their names retained in the book of life should now, in the few remaining days of their probation, afflict their souls before God by sorrow for sin and true repentance. ...Probation is ended a short time before the appearing of the Lord in the clouds of heaven." (White 1888:489/90).  
For
those who have a good understanding of the New Testament's teaching of God's forgiveness and saving mercy it will be clear that Ellen White became seriously confused on this issue in her attempt to vindicate 1844.
 
 
Also, to Ellen White, Christ's receiving the Kingdom meant His 'marriage' to the cubic New Jerusalem as His capital city (White 1888:426-7). The Church of the redeemed are then merely His bridesmaids or the 'guests' at this political 'wedding'.

 
1844 AD  
This
year is regarded as the end of a period of 2300 years based on a misunderstanding of Daniel 8:9-26. Although the Bible describes this period as "2300 evenings and mornings" (v.14) and for emphasis refers to this revelation as the vision of "evenings and mornings" (v.26), Seventh-day Adventism (SDA) insists that these are 2300 'years' not days. This is a disturbing inconsistency in SDA treatment of Holy Scripture.
 
 
For instance, in another place the SDA asserts that the 7-days of Creation are 7-days of 24-hours each because, among others, (to quote) –
"the expression 'the evening and the morning' (Gen.1:5,8,13,19,23,31) specifies individual days with the day beginning at evening, or sunset (see Lev.23:32; Deut.16:6)." (White 1888:71).
Yet,
when this very same expression is later used in Daniel 8:14, Seventh-day Adventist teachers, including Mrs White, insist that its days means 'years'. The error in this view is however significantly more serious than a lack of honesty in exegesis. (Click: for our Seventh-day Adventist friends)
 
 
But SDA interpretation is again inconsistent, for although the prophecy is interpreted as Satan opposing Christ's ministry and that the end of this period brings a change in Christ's activity in Heaven, stopping the "daily sacrifice" is interpreted as Catholic error about the Eucharist. Nothing on earth changed in 1844 concerning Catholic Eucharist teaching or practice, yet Heaven's processes are supposed to have dramatically changed at that date. This is near to blasphemy, apart from it being a violation of the context of this Scripture. The explanation of a change in Christ's ministry in Heaven at that date (1844 AD, as 2300 years after Xerxes' command to restore Jerusalem) was simply a sad effort to find some meaning from a mistaken interpretation and calculation of Christ's second coming. 
 
This
passage in Daniel actually describes a ruler (horn) that arose in one of the four divisions of Alexander the Great's empire. This was the Seleucid or Syrian kingdom. This ruler, as described in the text and fulfilled in history, was Antiochus Epiphanes, who declared himself to be God, subjugated Israel, defiled their Sanctuary and stopped its daily sacrifice. That is historical fact, as Daniel prophetically described – and this period was perfectly fulfilled in its natural meaning of days – not years. (Daniel's vision of the 'evenings and mornings').
 
 
There have been many times in the history of Christianity when sincere persons have tried to calculate God's mind on Christ's return from presumed clues in Scripture, most notably and understandably during times of socio-political change and crisis such as the 1840s. But this is never correct!

See
A Chronology of Confusion
Sabbath Usurped  
As
memorial of the completion of God's creative work, the seventh day was given for rest (sabbath means 'to cease'). During Israel's exile it became changed into a religious day of spiritual exercise. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for criticism of His disciples' behaviour on the sabbath by stating that the sabbath was for benefit not bondage. It was never God's intention that the sabbath add to human religious duty.
 
 
The first Christians rested on the Sabbath and gathered to commemorate Jesus on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor.16:1-2), the day of His resurrection from the dead. (See Sunday worship).
 
 
Unfortunately SDA teaching confuses this issue, makes it the flag of their denominational distinction, and a stick with which to flagellate other Christian denominations. Paul gave us sound teaching in Romans 14:5, that the spiritual specialness of a day was a personal matter of faith and was not to be judged by others.
 
 
The SDA assertion that Constantine (early 4th century) changed the Christian day of worship from the Saturday Sabbath to the Sunday is completely refuted by the great Christian apologist and martyr Justin Martyr (114-165 AD) writing in mid 2nd century –
"On the day called The Day of the Sun, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits, then when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray."
 
 
So, the behaviour of Roman emperor Constantine nearly two hundred years later, in his superstitious attempt to support sun worship by closing the law courts and forbidding all work except agricultural labour on Sundays, does not mean that the Christian Church changed its special day of worship at that time. Although his father was a Christian (hence his sympathy toward Christianity), Constantine appears to have been a sun-worshipper and a Mithraic. The coinciding of the pagan Hilaria resurrection feast with the Christian Easter, and the Sun's day with the resurrection day of Christ, were persuasive signs to his superstitious mind – hence the 'Edict of Milan' giving legal recognition to Christianity and other cults by him and his co-emperor Licinius in 313 AD.
 
 
But Mrs White their prophetess writes, with reference to the Revelation 7 'sealing' of God's people before the end: "...the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seal of the living God". (White 1888:640).
 
 
In other words, to use Saturday as a religious day, rather than Sunday, is God's great divide between the saved and the damned in the last days. What a horrible slur on the character of God! This value system is certainly not from the God of the Bible!

 
   The Dead Who Live In Christ  
Unlike
the Apostle Paul in the New Testament (2 Cor.12:2-5), SDA teaching denies human existence outside the body. Even though the death of a Christian is euphemistically described as "resting peacefully in Jesus" (SDA 'Discover Guide' 24:7), there is no place associated with these deceased other than the "grave" – even when they have no literal/physical grave. The sum total of SDA teaching on this subject amounts to non-existence of the loved one, except in God's memory as in the memory of the surviving family or friends. In other words, death is non-existence until the resurrection. The dead have gone no-where! All expressions that imply somewhere, such as 'in Jesus', 'in death', etc., are simply used to disguise the teaching of non-existence in death.
 
This
is in sharp contrast to the Apostle Paul's attitude –
"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in this body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know? I am torn between the two: I desire to depart [die] and be with Christ, which is better by far;
but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body."
(Phil.1:21-24).
Paul certainly did not think that his immediate non-existence was desirable and better by far!  
 
Even God's sabotage of the Endor medium's séance, by bringing the spirit of the real Samuel to speak God's last word to King Saul before his death, is denied as being simply a demonic deception, in order to remain true to SDA theology rather than the Word of God (1Sam.28:12-20). The Bible says it was Samuel. The SDA says it was a fake, because in the final evaluation of what is truth their allegiance is slanted toward Mrs White's views.
 
 
The righteous dead, such as Samuel, were led by Christ as captives of His grace into the presence of the Father at His Ascension for – when "He ascended on High, He led captives in His train" (Eph.4:8) – where they now await their own resurrection at Christ's glorious return to rule where He once was crucified.
 
It
is understandable that the (God-dishonouring) religious nonsense of prayers for the dead in purgatory, prayers to the holy dead, messages from the dead, speculations on the activities of the dead (singing, worship, etc.), and so on, should be disowned by those who seek a more biblical faith. But the extreme opposite reaction of the SDA denial (of any objective existence of the individual between death and resurrection) debases Bible doctrine to an argument over immortality and dishonours the Word of God on this issue.
 
  Precious Bible statements of reassurance are ignored or explained away, such as –
"God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him" (2 Thess.4:14).
"The LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with Him" (Zech.14:5).
 
See
also 1 Peter 3:19 for Jesus' objective existence outside the body in the realm of the dead when He affirmed Noah' witness before His own resurrection. Much more could be said of this but this is enough for those with integrity.

 
Glory Compromised  
An
incomprehensible twist in Ellen White's 'authoritative' teaching concerning the dead is her view of the resurrection. She taught that the stature of the biological body of a person while be retained in the resurrection body, in order to show that Adam was the best and all later generation were of inferior stature – so as to contradict evolution:
"All come forth from their graves the same in stature as when they entered the tomb. ...in this one respect is shown the degeneracy of the race." (White 1888:645).
 
  The Bible is very clear on this –  
 
"... just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man [Adam],
so shall we bear the likeness of the Man from Heaven [Christ]"
1 Corinthians 15:49.
  "...we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." 1 John 3:2.
 
As well meaning as her "authoritative" teachings may be, this is an insult to the One in whose image His people are raised from the dead - to share His glory. The resurrection of Christ, in which all believers will share, will bear, in no way whatsoever, the imprint of the sad and fallen nature of humanity's curse! 
 
 
Nothing, absolutely nothing, but the disobedience of the individual believer can in any way limit the glory of Christ in the resurrection of His people.

 
Israel Discarded  
SDA
teaching ignores the Bible's rich promises to the nation Israel about Messiah's rule in their Jerusalem. It treats the "Israel of God", the Christian Church, as a complete substitute for the nation of whom Paul wrote –
"As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; 
but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs,
for God's gifts and His call are irrevocable."
Rom.11:28-29.
 
Speaking of Israel's rejection of their Messiah bringing spiritual riches to the Gentiles, the apostle writes –
"But if their transgression means riches for the world,and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, 
how much greater riches will their fulness bring! ... 
For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?
[Christ's return]"
Rom.11:12-15.
 
In contrast to God's promises to Israel through the Old Covenant prophets, in SDA teaching the nation has no future in a new earth.

Misguidance  
Mrs
Ellen G White has been the most significant personality in the development of Seventh-day Adventist thinking. Her writings have been a source of great encouragement and personal spiritual blessing. However illuminative they have been to many, the word 'authoritative' (see above) should never have been attached to them. That term implies freedom from error. This is not true of any prophet of God, ever! No matter how inspired of God, no human being is ever infallible.
 
 
It is for this reason, among others, that the Bible (the only infallible source) tells us the error of the prophet Nathan in advising king David to build the Temple. Prophets, genuine prophets, also speak error. Only that which has been filtered by God to be part of the Holy Scriptures is authoritative! The Bible says that when a prophet prophesies it must be judged (1Cor.14:29-33).
 
 
Concerning Adventism's damning of the Catholic Church as the Antichrist, it may be of interest to note that by a 1929 Lateran treaty drawn up between this Antichrist Roman Catholic Church and the Italian Government, the said government would pay clergymen a salary called the 'congrua' based on an 'eight in a thousand' tax of the people. Arising from a 1984 agreement between these two, and according to records for the year 2000, the Seventhday Adventist Church was itself a beneficiary of this and received 0.28% of this annual tax from the Italian Government.
 
Hope
If the
Seventh-day Adventist movement is ever to be restored to the unfettered spiritual fellowship of the Family of God so as to share in the full dynamic of the Holy Spirit, it will need to acknowledge the errors of Mrs Ellen G. White. 
 
 
Without this, the movement is destined to be, at best, spiritually marooned and completely unprepared for the completion of the mission which precipitates the glorious coming of the blessed Head of the Church – the Lord Jesus Christ.

 
  Bibliography  
 
  White, Ellen Gould Harmon (Mrs)  1888  The Great Controversy.  USA:Pacific Press. (Text copyright 1950).
  Ministerial Association, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists 1988  Seventh-day Adventists Believe ... A Biblical Exposition of Fundamental Doctrines.  Hagerstown, Maryland, USA: Review and Herald Publishing Association.
  The Voice of Prophecy  1995  Discover Guides 1 to 26.  USA: Pacific Press.
 

A Chronology of Confusion White's Distinctives 1844 Refuted

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