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What about Seventh Day Adventists?

Brief Background of the SDA

According to William Miller, a New England Baptist itinerant preacher, the world was predicted to end in 1844 with the Second Coming of Christ. Miller's followers condemned all the churches of the day as apostate and "Babylon," and warned Christians to come out of them. Many did, and the "Adventist" movement was born and grew rapidly (Melton, J. Gordon, Encyclopedia of American Religions, Vol. 2, pp. 21–22).

Well, lo and behold, Jesus did not appear in 1844. However, one "little flock" still insisted the date of their original predictions had been correct, and decided the event marked by 1844 was not the Second Coming, but the entrance of Christ into the Holy of Holies in the Heavenly Sanctuary. There, they decided, He began the "Investigative Judgement." This doctrine was received and endorsed by Ellen G. White, one of the church founders and acknowledged spiritual leader, "messenger" and "prophet" (Ibid., p. 680).

From 1844 to 1851 the group taught the "shut door" doctrine, based on Yeshua's parable of the ten virgins. Anyone who had not accepted the Adventist message by the time Jesus entered the Holy of Holies was to be shut out permanently, as were the five foolish virgins. Cut off from the Bridegroom, they could not join the Adventists or have any hope of eternal life. Ellen White not only approved and taught this doctrine, but her first vision experience was largely responsible for its being received by the Adventist group (Brinsmead, Robert, D., Judged by the Gospel: A Review of Adventism, pp. 130–33).

By 1846 the group had adopted the Seventh-day Baptists' view that the Saturday Sabbath must be observed by Christians. A highly elevated form of this doctrine, together with the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment, became the hallmarks of Seventh-day Adventism. In 1850 James and Ellen White began publishing a magazine, The Review & Herald, to disseminate adventist and sabbatarian doctrines. This helped many of the remaining "Millerites" to coalesce into a distinctive body which adopted the name of Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1860, and formally incorporated in 1863, with approximately 3,500 members in 125 congregations (Encyclopedia of American Religion, Vol. 2, p. 681).

Ellen White claimed to have the "spirit of prophecy," and said that her messages were direct from God for the guidance and instruction of the church. With her knowledge and consent others called her a prophet, and even "the Spirit of Prophecy" (Barnett, Maurice, Ellen G. White & Inspiration, pp. 5–17). Having only a third grade education, Ellen White said for years she was unable to read, bolstering the claim that her beautiful prose was inspired by God. However, it has been discovered that she not only read, but plagiarized other Christian authors throughout virtually all her writings. The sad facts of this matter have been thoroughly and indisputably established in several books. (e.g., see; Rea, Walter, The White Lie; and Judged by the Gospel, pp. 361–83). Ellen White died in 1915 at age eighty-eight.

Examining SDA doctrine

Baptism: "...Christ made it clear that He required baptism of those who wished to become part of his church, His spiritual kingdom...In baptism believers enter into the passion experience of our Lord...Baptism also marks [a] person's entrance into Christ's spiritual kingdom....it unites the new believer to Christ....Through baptism the Lord adds the new disciples to the body of believers - His body, the church. Then they are members of God's family" (SDA's Believe..., pp. 182, 184, 187).

Netzarim/Messianic Response: Baptism is merely an outward action of an inward feeling. It has nothing whatsoever to do with salvation! (Rom. 3:21–26, 28; 4:4–6, 23–24; 5:1; Gal. 2:16; 3:26; 5:1–6; Eph. 2:4–10; Col. 1:13–14; 2:13–14) These passages make it clear that salvation is entirely by God's grace alone, apart from any works, and laid hold of by faith alone. Baptism is mentioned in close proximity to some of these passages, but the New Testament uses the word baptism in various ways. Clearly, the "one baptism" (Eph. 4:4–5) that is essential is the baptism of the Spirit. If a passage makes baptism essential to salvation it can only refer to the baptism of the Spirit, or it would conflict with other Scriptures which plainly teach salvation is apart from any human work.

The Sabbath: "...The divine institution of the Sabbath is to be restored...The delivering of this message will precipitate a conflict that will involve the whole world. The central issue will be obedience to God's law and the observance of the Sabbath....Those who reject it will eventually receive the mark of the beast" (Ibid., pp. 262–63). Describing a supposed vision direct from God, Ellen White wrote, "I saw that the Holy Sabbath is, and will be, the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers" (Early Writings, p. 33; emphasis added). She also wrote of some Adventists failing to understand that "Sabbath...observance was of sufficient importance to draw a line between the people of God and unbelievers" (Ibid., p. 85).

Netzarim/Messianic Response: Ellen is right, to a point. The seventh day IS the true Sabbath and it is a separating wall between the true Israel and unbelievers - and that includes Christians who ignore Torah! However, is it really true that "Those who reject it will eventually receive the mark of the beast...."? That's pure conjecture.

The role of women: In common with many conservative Christian churches, the question of ordination of women is actively debated within the SDA church. The special role of the SDA founder, Ellen White, is proof that women are able to contribute to church life. However, although they have been allowed to be ordained as elders for many years, none are eligible as pastors.

Netzarim/Messianic Response: The decision to disallow women to be pastor was based largely on the text of 1 Corinthians 14:34-37 when Paul presented as a command of God that women should keep quiet in church, and remain subordinate. In 1 Timothy 2:12, he said that no woman was to teach or have authority over a man; she is to remain silent. This debate has gone on in the church for for some time. Some believe that it's tolerable for women to teach while others find it unacceptable. The biggest issue in the debate being whether or not a woman can teach men.

The answer is really very simple. Please see The Refiner's Fire's article: Women teaching men.

New Israelites: One SDA evangelist has said that Seventh Day Adventists are the 'New Israelites'.

Netzarim/Messianic Response: Really? This is not Biblical, and reeks of the dangerous mindset of replacement theology (see The Error of Replacement Theology). Jewish people were never excluded from their original covenant, promise and blessing as the natural seed of Abraham. Christians are "grafted in" only through the atoning death of Messiah. As such, they are part of Israel. And God told Israel to be Torah Observant! Are SDA congregations truly Torah observant?

Remnant Church: SDA is God's only true, end-time "Remnant Church."

Netzarim/Messianic Response: Says who? From a Messianic viewpoint, one might ask the Seventh Day Adventist whether they "walk in Torah", keep the Biblical feasts, and eat kosher foods (they claim one's need to be vegetarian - yet Yeshua ate meat). Furthermore, do SDAs observe ALL of God's commands AND exercise Yeshua's faithfulness?

Rev. 12:17 - "The dragon was infuriated over the woman and went off to fight the rest of her children, those who obey God's commands and bear witness to Yeshua."

Rev. 14:12 - "This is when perseverance is needed on the part of God's people, those who observe his commands and exercise Yeshua's faithfulness."

Please note, these Scriptures don't mention just the "Ten Commandments". YHWH (Yahweh) warns us in Proverbs 4:2 - "I give you good instruction: Do not forsake my Torah." With the advent of Christianity, the "Old Testament", along with Torah - God's original divine teaching and instruction - basically became null and void....From all indications, the SDA does not "walk in Torah" - they apparently follow only the teachings of Ellen White...

At any time now, Jesus Christ will return to raise to heaven all the righteous dead and living, resurrect and destroy the wicked and Satan here on earth, and then return the righteous to a paradisiacal earth for eternity with God.

Netzarim/Messianic Response: This is not Biblical. Yeshua will NOT be returning "any time now...." The Bible tells us that certain things MUST happen before His return, including the entire world going up against Israel, and the appearance of the antichrist and the Mark of the Beast - to mention just a few.....Furthermore, the Biblical Feasts give us an idea as to what will happen next; so far Yeshua has only fulfilled the first 4 of the 7 Biblical Feasts and the next one will be what Christians refer to as "the rapture." This will happen on a Rosh Hashana; not "any time now"!

Satan pervades the earth, causing pain and suffering. Many believe that suffering is God's design to test, teach, or strengthen belief in Him; the greater the suffering of innocent believers, the greater will be their reward after.

Netzarim/Messianic Response: And where can one find this in the Bible? YHWH's design was for us to live in Utopia, as evidenced by the Garden of Eden. He does not "lead us into trials or temptations" but gives us the choice to either do things HIS way or Satan's. Through His grace and mercy, He uses our suffering to help us turn our lives around and allows us to seek Him out.

Some other issues, in a nutshell: Abortion has moral consequences and should only be performed for the most serious reasons. The church acknowledges compelling reasons for a woman to choose abortion, e.g. threat to the life of the woman, rape/incest, extreme congenital abnormalities, etc. After counseling, the final decision is regarded as her own -- she is not to be coerced or condemned. Many SDAs refuse combat status in the armed forces, and the church urges strict control of semi- and automatic assault weapons.

Netzarim/Messianic Response: While their hearts might be in the "right place", much of their doctrine is not. The Bible is clear about murder of any kind, consequently, women cannot "choose abortion." Refusing combat status in the armed forces is wrong because God DOES tell us to heed our government and its leaders (1 Peter 2:13-17). These days, people have the choice as to whether or not to enter the armed services. If they enter, the MUST follow military rules as soon as they sign on the "dotted line". Also, what business does the church have in our owning weapons?

Are Seventh Day Adventists "off the mark"? Please don't take our word for it: check the Bible and see for yourself.