The 7th Day Traced in Lost Pages of History
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We highly recommend this series of five videos, The Seventh Day: Revelations from the Lost Pages of History, by Frank Holbrook, now available on the web. (Click on the image.) Each video is just over 50 minutes long, just as in the original video series still available at TheSeventhDay website. Please visit the site for extra resources, including an overview of each video, a History Timeline and complete transcripts of each episode.

There’s a reason for “the lost pages of history” in the title. This is history as you’ve not likely read or heard it before in school or through the media. However, Hal Holbrook takes viewers back across the centuries to trace the history of the Sabbath through the evidence of ancient records as found in the archives and libraries throughout the world.

Fifty historians and theologians from around the world provide a careful exposé of the epic battle over the biblical Sabbath. We see how faithful Christians throughout the long centuries of the inquisition and other repression engaged in a heroic struggle for religious liberty. You will be guided through the evidence from the cool green hills of St. Patrick’s Ireland to the steaming South American jungle, from the massacre of a thousand Jews in the Palestinian desert to the bloody Taiping Revolution in 19th-century China, and from the divisive heresies of the early Christian era to the fiery executions of “heretics” in Red Square.

“I will die today because I have observed the seventh day of the week as the holy Sabbath of God.” So wrote Ivan Kuritsin before he was burned to death in the Red Square of Moscow more than 500 years ago. The Council accused him of honoring the seventh day, the Sabbath, more than the first day, Sunday.

Is it possible that this same seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath for which so many faithful Christians gave their lives now coincides with Sunday in the South Pacific island nations of Tonga, Wallis, Futuna, Kiribati, Samoa and Tokelau? Where is the sign of distinction (Ezekiel 20:20) for those who claim that the seventh day now conveniently falls on Sunday so that that they can worship on the same day as their neighbors who celebrate the resurrection on the first day of the week?

The ages-long controversy over the biblical day of worship—the Sabbath of the Ten Commandments—continues today in some of the most unlikely places, such as the South Pacific islands. Will the controversy gain more prominence in the rest of the world as well? Time will tell.


We welcome your comments after you have watched one or more of the videos. You can also watch the series at SabbathTruth.com in MP4 format. Let us know which works best for you. (Tell us where you are and how you are accessing the videos.)

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The 7th Day Traced in Lost Pages of History — 22 Comments

  1. What a blessing these videos are!

    One strong impression on my mind is that the true 7th-day Sabbath of the LORD has never been owned or controlled by any church or nation, nor has any man or group of men ever been able to conquer it.

    We cannot test or change the Sabbath (into Sunday, for instance); rather, it will test us.

  2. ITS NOT IMPORTANT MAYBE…IF THE SABBATH WILL FALL ON SATURDAY OR SUNDAY…WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS WE HAVE TO HONOR AND RESPECT THE SABBATH DAY

    • Dear Brother Henry,

      Before making such statements, perhaps we should be sure we are aware of what we are saying when we use the words “Saturday” and “Sunday.” This being a public forum, and not any kind of technical discussion, the common connotation of words is what counts, and the usual way to determine that is by consulting the dictionary.

      This is the definition of Saturday, from Merriam-Webster: “the seventh day of the week”

      Here is their definition of Sunday: “the first day of the week: the Christian analogue of the Jewish Sabbath”

      Thus I believe it would be fair to paraphrase your statement as follows:

      It’s not important maybe… if the Sabbath will fall on the 7th day of the week or the 1st day of the week… What is important is we have to honor and respect the Sabbath day.

      Personally, I do not see how this idea can be reconciled with the Scriptures. Exodus 20:10 (NKJV) says:

      “… the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God…”

      • The 7th day is indeed the Sabbath of the Lord and to get to the 7th one must first count from the 1st day. Therefore, I still need someone to explain to me how in Samoa, Saturday December 31, 2011 became the 7th day of the week equating it to the 7th day Sabbath. As far as history shows, that week began with Sunday December 25, 2011 as the first day of the week. Thursday 29th December 2011 was therefore the 5th day of the week. The day immediately following Thursday the 5th day, was called Saturday December 31, 2011, but that was only the 6th Day of the week. Was that 6th day of the week the same 7th day Sabbath of the Lord. Basic Bible truth tells me that that 6th day of the week, now called Saturday by man, should be preparation day and there needed to have one more day for the week to be completed and that one more day will be the 7th day. It is called Sabbath, the name God gave to it, and whatever man wants to call it does not change the order that the Sabbath comes after the 6th day of the week. God Said to remember the 7th day – the Sabbath day, he did not say remember Saturday, neither did he command that the first day of the week shall be called Sunday. And in any case, Saturday begins Friday night midnight and ends midnight Saturday night according to man’s calendar. Is that what we call the 7th day Sabbath. So you see why we cannot go with man’s calendar equating the order of the days of the week with the names given on man’s calender. Remind all of us, according to the Bible the names of the days of the week are 1st day, 2nd day, 3rd day, 4th day, 5th day, 6th day and 7th day Sabbath. If we are not sure when is the 7th day Sabbath then let’s take a clue from Genesis chapter 1 and 2. Genesis Chapter 1 verse 14: “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years”. The good thing about this command is that man cannot change the rising or setting of the sun nor the moon nor change the order of the stars. Therefore the order of God’s 7 day week does not change when man calls two days the same name as with Monday Monday in 1892, or attempts to ‘rename’ the days as in December 2011. Man does not and cannot rearrange the order of God’s 7 day week. Only the Creator can affect the movement of the sun and moon as he did in Joshua Chapter 10. Let us study our bibles honestly to discern God’s 7th day Sabbath. When Christians are plunged into dungeons and time keeping has elapsed from them, should they be asking for the Gregorian Calendar, the World calendar, the Samoa Calendar, or the Jewish calendar, etc, etc. or should they be asking when is new moon.

        • Dear Phyllis,

          Your question about what happened in Samoa on Thursday 29th December, when the government decided to reposition Samoa west of the international date-line, is a good one. All that happened is Samoa went from keeping American to Asia time reckoning, 24-hours inadvance, from Thursday 29th Dec to 31st Dec. So instead of keeping time with American Samoa, Samoa is now keeping time with Australia and New Zealand. Nevertheless, it is important to note that Samoa continue to follow the universal calendar and the year, month, date and day remain constant.

          If you consult the universal calendar, whether in Samoa (west of the IDL) or American Samoa (east of the IDL, 24-hours behind Samoa time reckoning), pick up the phone and call someone you know and ask them to also consult their calendar at the same time. You will find you are both following the same year, month, date and day. The only difference would be a time difference showing that American versus Asia time reckoning is 24-hours in arrears.

          Therefore, the 7-day week, from Sunday to Monday, remains constant e.g. 1-7, irrespective of being located west or east of the IDL.

          However, Samoa to make the 1st positional adjustment from west to east of the IDL on Monday, 4th July, 1892, took a 1-time 8-day week by repeating Monday, 4th July, to adjust to the American time reckoning, because it is 24-hours behind Asia. Then on 29th December, 2011, Samoa took a 1-time 6-day week to adjust to Asia time reckoning, and went from 29th December to 31 December, which is 24-hours in advance of American time. Nevertheless, the universal calendar and the 1-7-day week remain constant.

          I hope this explanation clarify’s part of your question as it relates to the 1-7-day week count within the context of being located either west or east of the IDL.

          God’s rich blessing, ulalei

  3. God’s rich blessings with you Henry. In the context of Genesis 2:1-3, “2 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made”, may I ask you, what do you think the answer to your question is and do you think it is important to God that the 7th-Day Sabbath is either Saturday or Sunday? I would be interest in your point of view. Kind regards, ulalei

    • Dear King,

      You have asked an excellent question. I’ll give you the short answer for now, as the means of opening a possible dialogue between us.

      We know that Saturday is the Sabbath in Samoa, and everywhere else in the world, because the English word “Saturday” means the 7th day of the week, and the 4th commandment specifies that “the 7th day is the Sabbath…”

      You will have observed that a number of arguments and theories have been proposed in an effort to persuade us that Samoa is some kind of exception to the rule, and that the generally acknowledged “Sunday,” in that country, is really the 7th day (i.e. Saturday), and is therefore the Sabbath.

      My observation and conclusion is that there is no substance to any of those theories and arguments. They are specious, and cannot be supported by the facts of the Bible, of science, or of history.

      God bless!

  4. R G White
    Thank you for the information about the English word Saturday means 7th day of the week. There are exception to that as well, much of Europe Saturday is the 6th day of the week.

    We are confuse with the names because they all came from heathen origins. The word Saturday and Sunday are not mention in the Bible once. We only have 1st, 2nd, 3rd …6th, 7th – the Sabbath of the Lord.

    The worldwide consensus of the International Dateline passed in 1884 is the best way for us to account for days. E G White recognized that on her way to Australia via Samoa and her way back to USA via Samoa. She passed the Dateline twice and she wrote that down. Why she stopped in Samoa twice but not the other Pacific islands? It appears to me that God knew that we will discuss this today to refer to her writings on it.

    R G White, if you have new lights on the subject and how we can account for days than let us know. I know the Bible tells us that the 7th day is the Sabbath, it starts from evening or sunset. We are doing the best we know now and pray to God to guide us as we move on to the future.

    I would like to say what I believe. I believe that Samoa kept the right Sabbath (was called Saturday) in the last 100+ years. I believe that after the 29 December 2011, the Sabbath in Samoa is still the same day that they have kept in the last 100+ years (it is now called Sunday). The change in name is not a religious reason but for commercial reason. Samoa Government gave the reason for the change as for business with NZ & Australia.

    Let us not change from one day of the seven-day cycle to another because a Parliament, like Samoa, change the dateline for commercial reasons.

    Where the SDA leadership stands I believe is the best (using the 180 degrees median). No matter what any government will do with the dateline, SDA in the Eastern Hemisphere will all worship on the same Sabbath; SDA in the Western Hemisphere will all worship on the same Sabbath.

    What I will do if I disagree with the SDA leadership? I will leave the church and start my own and call it “STEVE SDA LTD”

    Love from your SDA brother in Christ

    • Dear Steve,

      Thank you for your feedback. I shall attempt to respond to your points one at a time.

      You wrote:
      “There are exceptions to that as well, much of Europe Saturday is the 6th day of the week.”

      I must beg to differ with your conclusion here. In Europe, so near the longitude of the Tower of Babel, from which mankind was scattered over the face of the earth, there are no options from which government may make a choice. The only day that goes back to the creation Sabbath is Saturday, the 7th day of the week. For a European government to declare Sunday to be the 7th day is a clear and definite violation of God’s law, and “we must obey God rather than men.” In other words, we must not accept any government declaration that Sunday is the 7th day, as you appear to have done. Neither ought we to accept any church declaration that Sunday is the 7th day!

      You wrote:
      “We are confused with the names because they all came from heathen origins.”

      Thankfully, God has kept things simple enough for us. Saturday is the 7th day, God’s holy Sabbath everywhere, with no exceptions. There is no need for confusion, provided we keep the various issues of authority straight in our minds.

      I’m afraid the real cause of confusion is not that the days of the week have pagan names. These have at least been consistently applied, so we can easily see what day numbers are implied. I believe the real confusion begins when we attribute to church leaders a level of authority which God has never given them.

      Again, you wrote:
      “The worldwide consensus of the International Dateline passed in 1884 is the best way for us to account for days.”

      I have read the proceedings of the 1884 Meridian Conference from beginning to end. Here are a few observations:

      1) It was not a worldwide conference. Only about 25 countries were represented. The governments of all of those countries, combined, would have had no authority to impose their will on any non-participating countries, such as Tonga or Samoa, for instance.

      2) The delegates themselves had no power to commit even their own governments to any of the resolutions, but could only bring those resolutions back to their respective governments as recommendations.

      3) The purpose of the Conference was to recommend a Prime Meridian, and the longitude of Greenwich was chosen, as it was already by far the most commonly used in practice. The existing practice of counting longitude in both directions from Greenwich was also recommended, as well as the use of UTC as a reference point for worldwide time keeping.

      4) No attempt was ever made to agree on a particular location for the day line. That would have been outside the purpose of the Conference. Even if such an agreement had been attempted and reached, its implementation would have required legislative action on the part of all countries then lying between the chosen location and the existing day line.

      There is evidence that the Americans (not the whole world), who had convened the Conference, did indeed desire to make the meridian 180 degrees from Greenwich into a day line. This evidence is found, not in the proceedings of the Meridian Conference, but in the way in which the Americans apparently worked, afterward, to persuade various island nations to shift the day line in the direction of the 180-degree meridian. However, Tonga, well within its rights, declined to make any change in their local reckoning, thus thwarting any attempt to turn the meridian into a day line.

      So, brother, don’t allow anyone to lead you into Sunday observance by the use of specious arguments based on popular misconceptions and outright fiction.

      You need not get hung up over questions regarding the past 100+ years. Individual societies (as represented by their civil authorities), far around the world from ancient Babylon, have two legitimate orientations from which to choose. Shall they count Babylon as being to the east of them, or to the west? Again, only governments have the right to choose, not churches or individuals. When a government acts within its legitimate authority to shift the day line, the changes which that government makes are real. Thus, two consecutive Saturdays can both be the true 7th-day Sabbath, notwithstanding the exceptional circumstance of their being only six days apart.

      God bless!

  5. R G White
    Thank you for responding and I am glad to hear your points. I believe the Bible and the 7th day Sabbath that God gave at creation. I agree with you that we must obey God rather than man. Samoa in the last 119 years obeyed God by keeping the Sabbath (Saturday) of the 7th day. Man change that (Parliament of Samoa) after the 29th December 2011 for commercial reasons.

    I am glad that more than 95% of the SDA members in Samoa are still keeping the 7th day that they have kept in the last 119 years (its name is change to Sunday now). This 24 hours period is holy, God blessed and sanctified this day.

    Thank you for the information on the dateline. I would like to ask you something that I would like to know. Can you please tell me the countries that are not using the dateline for reckoning of time?

    Hope and pray that we will sort out the 1884 soon and move on to 1844.

    God Bless & Happy Sabbath, love from you brother in Christ

    • Dear Steve,

      Thank you for your reply. I am hoping our conversation may be helpful to many, as we reverently examine the issues together. Again, I shall respond to your points one by one.

      You wrote:
      “Samoa in the last 119 years obeyed God by keeping the Sabbath (Saturday) of the 7th day.”

      Amen, brother, and I appreciate your focus on the positive!

      You continued:
      “Man changed that (Parliament of Samoa) after the 29th December 2011 for commercial reasons.”

      I think we need to be clear about what Samoa’s Parliament did and did not do. Their stated intent was to move the day/date line. That’s all. This action did not make any change in the Sabbath. Those who have chosen to continue obeying God by keeping the Sabbath (Saturday) of the 7th day are still doing so.

      It is true that many of Samoa’s previous Sabbath keepers have now begun observing Sunday (the 1st day) instead, mistakenly thinking that they are still obeying God. However, I cannot believe that this is because of what Samoa’s Parliament did. The members of SISDAC, for example, do not appear to have this problem. Therefore, the problem seems to have arisen from a mistake made by the leaders of the Samoa Tokelau Mission.

      You wrote further:
      “I am glad that more than 95% of the SDA members in Samoa are still keeping the 7th day that they have kept in the last 119 years (its name is changed to Sunday now).”

      It is not true that the names of the days have been changed in Samoa. John Wallace asked the Samoa government about this, and has posted their reply in a comment on this website. In Samoa, the 7th day is still called Saturday, and the 1st day is still Sunday. What happened was a shift in the day line–an event which many appear not to understand. I hope we can use this conversation to move toward a clearer understanding of the day line. I am sorry that this will have to come as a disappointment to you, because those 95% of Samoa’s SDA members (if that is an accurate figure) are now keeping Sunday alongside the Methodists and Catholics.

      You asked:
      “Can you please tell me the countries that are not using the dateline for reckoning of time?”

      Thank you for asking this question, as it affords a golden opportunity to clarify the nature of the day line. I must give credit to Dr. Maurice Ashton, here, as he has expressed this more clearly than I. The day/date line is not something set by a decision-making body and then followed by all of the different countries. That’s not how it comes about.

      What happens is that migration patterns, political and trade influences, and/or governmental decisions lead each society to choose the orientation of its weekly cycle relative to the site of ancient Babylon, from which mankind was scattered over the face of the earth. That is, each society chooses, consciously or unconsciously, whether to say that Babylon is to the east of their territory or to the west. (Either choice is valid, seeing we are on a round world.) Then, nowadays, cartographers draw a line between the territories of those societies which have chosen one way, and those which have chosen the other way. This line is then called the International Date Line.

      Therefore, respecting the so-called International Date Line is simply a matter of accepting the local reckoning of the weekly cycle, wherever we may happen to be. From this, I think you can see that, if there are any countries which do not use the day/date line in their reckoning, they would only be the ones who do not follow the 7-day weekly cycle. I am not aware of any such countries, myself.

      My position, based especially on the writings of Ellen White, is that we must respect and follow the local reckoning of the weekly cycle, wherever we are. This is the only way in which I can understand these words:

      “Now, my sister, … I write … to tell you that we are not to give the least credence to the day line theory. It is a snare of Satan brought in by his own agents to confuse minds. You see how utterly impossible for this thing to be, that the world is all right observing Sunday, and God’s remnant people are all wrong. This theory of the day line would make all our history for the past fifty-five years a complete fallacy. But we know where we stand….” {3SM 318.4}

      This was, of course, a response to the Eden Day Line theory, which proposed a special day line for Seventh-day Adventists, and would have called for Sunday observance in a part of the world. I think you can see that this is exactly what is happening now, with the way the 180-degree meridian is being recommended as a special day line for Seventh-day Adventists, under the heading of “consistency.”

      If we do not follow the local reckoning in every country, but choose another day line of our own, then we must inevitably end up observing either Friday or Sunday as the “7th-day Sabbath.” Through Ellen White, Jesus has made it clear to me that we must not pursue such a course of action.

      This means that our members in Samoa were correct in keeping Saturday for the past 120 years. It also means that the Samoa Saturday Sabbath Keepers are correct in continuing to observe the Saturday Sabbath today–even though this has meant the acceptance of a one-time 6-day week at the end of 2011.

      God is particular, yes, but He has not called us to be Pharisees! The whole point of the Sabbath day is relationship –our relationship with God. He wants it to be a sign that we belong to Him. I perceive that Sunday can never be that sign, no matter how good our theories may seem, which make Sunday the 7th day.

      God bless!

  6. R G White
    Thank you for responding and it is my pleasure to be a part of this discussion. I am prayerfully searching for a solution for this matter and I am reading everything with open mind.
    I would like to ask a question here. Why you and the others who are dialoguing in this forum never mention anything about the Sabbath (Sunday) in Tonga (1891-2012) & Kiribati (1999-2012) ?
    Thank you for agreeing with me that Samoa have kept the right Sabbath, 7th day – Saturday in the last 119 years. Do you believe that God blessed & sanctified those 24 hours of the seven-day cycle that they kept?
    You mention that SISDAC does not appear to have any problem on this area. I know that these people did not want to be SDAs. We are not following SISDAC in what they do, we are SDAs and we are to follow the Bible and our (SDA) leadership.
    Thank you for mentioning E G White and what she wrote on the topic. This is another statement that she wrote “God made His Sabbath for a round world: and when the seventh day comes to us in a round world, controlled by the sun that rules the day, it is the time in all countries and lands to observe the Sabbath” 3SM 317. She also recognised the 180° median dateline on her way to Australia via Samoa and her way back to USA (Bible Echo & Signs of the Times Jan 1 1892).
    The days in Genesis were 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th & 7th day – Sabbath. If we keep using the name Saturday & Sunday we will miss the point. I believe that the dictionary meaning for Saturday is 7th day of the week, the word Saturday is not in the Bible. I know that the dictionary meaning for Sunday is 1st day of the week, but Sunday is not mention in the Bible as well. Let us just use 7th day and Sabbath in our discussion.
    Let’s keep searching and praying for new lights on this topic.

  7. Dear Steve,

    Thank you for your continued participation in this discussion. If we continue like this, perhaps we shall be able to cover every angle on the subject. By God’s help, perhaps we can also come into agreement.

    You asked:

    “Why you and the others who are dialoguing in this forum never mention anything about the Sabbath (Sunday) in Tonga (1891-2012) & Kiribati (1999-2012) ?”

    My understanding is that the lack of discussion regarding the larger issue in the South Pacific — in Tonga, Kiribati, and Wallis/Futuna — is due to the fact that the most readily apparent crisis is currently taking place in Samoa, and this is what has brought the matter to worldwide attention in the SDA Church. As for me, personally, I’d much rather also talk about Tonga, as I perceive that is where the problem really began — spreading to Kiribati, Wallis/Futuna, and Samoa/Tokelau as a direct result of the Tonga precedent. From this perspective, I believe we can see that any objections to Samoa’s one-time 6-day week are merely a red herring. That’s because the true origin of the problem was in Tonga, where there has never been a day line shift.

    You asked further:

    “Thank you for agreeing with me that Samoa have kept the right Sabbath, 7th day – Saturday in the last 119 years. Do you believe that God blessed & sanctified those 24 hours of the seven-day cycle that they kept?”

    Pardon me if I am misunderstanding your intent, but I believe that I am detecting a complex question here. Therefore, please allow me to separate the two questions, as I perceive them, and answer one at a time.

    First is the question of whether God has blessed and sanctified any particular hours, in a physical sense. I believe the answer to this question is No. God has blessed and sanctified the seventh day of every week. In the words of Ellen White, “God made His Sabbath for a round world.” In other words, He intended for there to be a day line. Quite obviously, He has also left it in the hands of the civil authorities to determine the orientation of each society’s weekly cycle. The interesting result is that, depending on that choice, as reflected in the local reckoning in many places, God’s holy day may be either of two possible 24-hour periods. Thus, we must conclude that the blessing is in our obedience to God, not in the physical 24-hour period. Please note that I did not say the blessing is in our sincere desire to obey. God may bless anyone’s sincerity as He shall choose, but the Sabbath day’s blessing, as such, lies in actual obedience to God’s command, as reflected in the observance of the 7th day of each week, according to local reckoning.

    With that question answered, I believe the second question — of whether God actually blessed that specific 24-hour period in American Samoa — becomes moot. The true seventh day in American Samoa is blessed and sanctified, and the true 7th day in Tonga and independent Samoa is also blessed and sanctified, notwithstanding they are 24 hours apart. That’s the way I see God has set it up, without the need to ask for our approval.

    You quoted Ellen White as saying:

    “God made His Sabbath for a round world: and when the seventh day comes to us in a round world, controlled by the sun that rules the day, it is the time in all countries and lands to observe the Sabbath.”

    I do not understand this to mean that the sun can tell us which day is the Sabbath. This would be absurd, as there exists nothing physical in nature to tell us which day is which. What I believe she was trying to say are two things:

    1) We are not to allow ourselves to be thrown off or upset by the existence of the day line, or even by any changes in it. This is all in accordance with God’s plan. As I see it, any attempt to make American Samoa’s Saturday the same as Tonga’s Sunday — thus ignoring the day line — would be out of harmony with this inspired counsel.

    2) We need to keep it simple. In any local society, anyone can easily tell us which day is Saturday, the 7th day of the week. So, when the sun goes down on Friday, wherever we are, that’s when the Sabbath begins. When our pioneers to Tonga made the well-intentioned but unfortunate choice to employ a special 180-degree meridian day line theory, I believe they failed to act in accordance with this inspired counsel.

    You mention that Ellen White observed a 180-degree meridian date line in traveling to Australia and back. This is probably true, but potentially very misleading. Being aboard ship, she would have been keeping the ship’s time, which may well have been a “nautical” date line at the 180-degree meridian. However, when ships are in port, they are generally expected to revert to the essentially unrelated land-based day/date line. Even if Ellen White’s ship captain made a mistake, and stayed with the nautical reckoning while docked in Apia Harbour, Ellen White did right in respecting the captain’s authority to determine the time aboard ship. This is consistent with the practice which she endorsed, that of following the local reckoning whatever we may happen to be.

    You wrote:

    “If we keep using the name Saturday & Sunday we will miss the point.”

    I don’t think so, brother. As pagan as the names may be in their origin, we are using them only for the sake of the day numbers which they imply. Unfortunately, the increasing use of the ISO calendar, on which Sunday is indicated at the end of the week (i.e. making Sunday out to be the 7th day) has made our use of the names necessary for the sake of clarity. That is, the name “Saturday” is still used everywhere in the world to indicate the true 7th day of the week, in accordance with the local reckoning. It is that local reckoning which I believe we must use in order to actually observe God’s holy Sabbath day in harmony with His revealed will.

    Brother, if you desire to separate the names of the days from the day numbers which they imply, please show what valid point is being missed by our not doing so.

    God bless!

    P.S. I mentioned SISDAC only by means of illustrating the fact that other denominational groups in Samoa, without a “Tonga precedent” to follow, appear to have experienced little or no difficulty in adjusting to Samoa’s day/date line shift. Our problem is not that we are loyal Seventh-day Adventists. That’s a good thing. If only we seemed more capable of correcting our own errors…

  8. Dear R G White
    Thank you for the respond and I really like this discussion. I hope and prayer that we all come to this forum without our conclusions already to the issue, but to dialogue to reach it if that is God’s will.

    Thank you for answering my question about the Sunday Sabbath in Tonga & Kiribati etc. If Tonga accepted a dateline shift like the Samoa (1892), Rarotonga (1899) etc…than Tonga would have continued to keep the same day with a change of name to Saturday (not Sunday).

    I am glad that we agreed that Independent Samoa had kept the right Sabbath, 7th day – Saturday in the last 119 years. I believe that God created this world in six (24 hours) days. I believe that God blessed and sanctified the 7th (24 hours) day. Samoa kept the 7th (24 hours) day in the last 119 years. Samoa Parliament wanted to change the day for commercial reasons – trade with New Zealand & Australia.

    To accomplish this change, they dropped Friday 30th December 2011 from the calendar. The weekly seven-day cycle in Samoa was broken. The church leadership encourages the SDA members to keep on observing the 7th day of the week in unbroken succession. When Friday 30th December 2011 was removed from the Calendar, Saturday becomes the (6th – day) and Sunday becomes the (7th – day). This is not the definition in the dictionary for the days, but this is the 7th day in an unbroken succession from creation.

    If we do not change, but continue observing Sabbath on Saturday simply because the government has changed the day, it will demonstrate to other Christians that we are not serious about identifying the true ‘seventh day’ Sabbath. They will know that we are compromising because of convention. They will know that we are really worshiping on what will continue to be the sixth day of the western hemisphere where we are located.

    The issue here is not “Sunday worship”. The issue is true 7th day Sabbath observance. Remember we are not “Saturday Adventists” we are “Seventh-day Adventists.”

    Love from your 7th Day Adventist brother in CHRIST

    • Dear Steve,

      Thank you for continuing in this dialogue. Yes, I agree that keeping an open mind is always important. At the same time, I believe we must be patient with one another, and allow the Holy Spirit time to work.

      Yes, I understand that Tonga’s Adventists did not simply choose to keep Sunday. I realise that there is a theory behind it – a theory which would have called for Saturday observance had Tonga chosen to shift the day line like American Samoa did. However, one question still remains. Should Adventists in American Samoa keep Saturday in order to be consistent with the 180-degree day line theory, or should they be keeping Saturday just because it is Saturday (i.e. the 7th day of the week)? In other words, is it the name that counts, or is it the theoretical number?

      How can we really know God’s will in this matter? Let’s take another look at the Eden Day Line theory. There are two historic articles about this at “The Eden Day Line Theory” and “A False Issue — the Day-line”.

      To be clear, the makers of this theory did not intentionally advocate the keeping of the 1st day of the week, anywhere in the world. They were Seventh-day Adventists like you, Steve, and they meant to promote the keeping of the 7th day in every country. Like our pioneer missionaries to Tonga, these folk wanted to determine the correct location for the day line. They theorised that, if they could find the original location of the Garden of Eden, then that would determine the proper longitude for each day to begin, since the first day must have begun there. It was really quite a plausible theory. To the best of their knowledge, the Garden of Eden had been situated near a certain lake that now exists in present-day Armenia. Thus, our brothers drew a line at that longitude, and began to urge that the Sabbath must be kept accordingly.

      What countries or territories lay between the theoretical Eden Day Line and the actual day line, known today as the International Date Line? Well, it was actually a large part of the world, including such places as Siberia, Mongolia, Japan, Korea, China, all of South-east Asia, plus Australia and New Zealand. A number of Pacific island groups were also included, and Tonga was one of them.

      According to the Eden Day Line theory, in all of these countries and island groups, the day called “Sunday” was really the 7th day of the week, and must be observed as the Sabbath. So, what was wrong with that? The Eden Day Line theory actually seems to have had something to recommend it. Isn’t that where the first day began?

      I believe we need to take a close look at the exact reason why Ellen White could not accept the Eden Day Line theory, and why she warned us not to give it “the least credence.” Here are her words:

      ”Now, my sister, … I write … to tell you that we are not to give the least credence to the day line theory. It is a snare of Satan brought in by his own agents to confuse minds. You see how utterly impossible for this thing to be, that the world is all right observing Sunday, and God’s remnant people are all wrong.” Selected Messages, volume 3, page 318

      First, she said that “we are not to give the least credence to the day line theory,” leading us to expect her to give her reasons. But, before giving her reasons, Sister White first emphasizes her point even more strongly by calling the Eden Day Line theory “a snare of Satan.” Now she’s really got our attention! What is it about this theory that makes it such a “must to avoid?”

      Here it is. According to the theory, “the world” would be “all right observing Sunday.” Is that it? According to the Eden Day Line theory, Tonga’s “Sunday” would have been the 7th day of the week. What difference does the name make? Isn’t it the number that counts? Well, as we have seen, the name does imply a number. If I’m understanding this correctly, it’s the name that counts, or rather its implied number, and not any theoretical number.

      I can imagine this is probably a rather startling thought for you, beloved brother. Is it possible that our church leaders could be sincerely mistaken? May God bless and lead you, Steve.

  9. R G White
    Thank you for continuing with me in this discussion and we are just sharing our thoughts on the subject. I hope and pray that God will give us a prophet in this time to lead us to what we suppose to do with this matter. There is no Biblical instructions about the dateline and its location, what we need to do is to do our best together in unity with our leadership and I believe God will lead us.

    Thank you for the historical articles on the different views and theories on the day line. All of these were included in the discussion of the issue in Tonga.

    Let me give here the journey of the Tonga Mission on 2004. There was one of the ministers who disagreed with the Sabbath (Sunday) in Tonga. The leadership discussed the issue with him and he did not accept the views of the leadership. It was discussed in the executive of the Tonga Mission; the numbers given here is the number of people in these committees:

    • 10 – Tonga Mission Executive – Agreed with Sabbath (Sunday) in Tonga – they passed on to the TPUM in 2005.
    • 28 – TPUM Executive – Agreed with Sabbath (Sunday) in Tonga – they passed it on to SPD Biblical Research Committee (BRC) in 2005.
    • 16 – SPD Biblical Research Committee (BRC) – In 2005 the TPUM requested the SPD Biblical Research Committee (BRC) to give study to the Tongan Sabbath situation as a number of people had concerns and misunderstandings about the traditional position of the church in Tonga.
    • Since 2005 the BRC has studied many papers and submissions on the subject.
    • It has received responses from scholars from within and outside of the division.
    • It has consulted widely with the local field.
    • Early 2009 the BRC released a statement of Principles and Considerations regarding Observance of the Sabbath in the Pacific around the Dateline.
    • This statement was presented to the SPD executive committee November 2009.
    • 80 – SPD Executive Committee
    • 250 – General Conference – BRICOM (Committee) – Scholars of the church worldwide.
    • Before voting the statement, SPD wants to share its finding with scholars of the Church Worldwide (BRICOM) in order to share the reflections behind the decision.

    Brother, the decision were made in 2009 before anyone knows that the Parliament of Samoa will change the times and laws for Commercial reasons between them and New Zealand & Australia. That’s why I leave the Samoa Executive Committee for last.
    • (13 – Samoan Executive Committee)
    “God is a God of order as evidenced in His works of creation and redemption. Consequently, order belongs to the essence of His church. Order is achieved through principles and regulations that guide the Church in its internal operations and in the fulfilment of its mission to the world. In order for it to be a successful ecclesiastical organization at the service of the Lord and humanity, it needs order, rule, and discipline. Scripture affirms that “all things be done decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40).

    Ellen G. White pointed out such needs in 1875: “The church of Christ is in constant peril. Satan is seeking to destroy the people of God, and one man’s mind, one man’s judgment, is not sufficient to be trusted. Christ would have His followers brought together in church capacity, observing order, having rules and discipline, and all subject one to another, esteeming others better than themselves.”–3T 445.

    With Great Love Brother – God Bless

  10. Dear Brother Steve,

    Thank you for continuing this conversation, as we continue to cover all the angles. You wrote:

    ”I hope and pray that God will give us a prophet in this time to lead us to what we are supposed to do with this matter.”

    Given the perplexity which you must be feeling, brother, I can sympathise with this sentiment. Nevertheless, may I respectfully suggest that this does not appear to be the way in which God works? He gives us sufficient evidence to convince us, if we truly wish to know the truth. I believe He wants us to receive the truth for the sheer love of it.

    You have cited the great number of church leaders who have been involved in the decision to maintain Sunday observance in the South Pacific, to a greater or lesser degree. I must confess that I find this number quite remarkable.

    You have quoted Ellen White as saying:

    ”The church of Christ is in constant peril. Satan is seeking to destroy the people of God, and one man’s mind, one man’s judgment, is not sufficient to be trusted. Christ would have His followers brought together in church capacity, observing order, having rules and discipline, and all subject one to another, esteeming others better than themselves.”

    Amen, brother. There is always need for humility and a healthy respect for the judgment of “the brethren.” On the other hand, we have the history of such men as John Wycliffe, John Hus and Martin Luther, as shared by Ellen White herself in The Great Controversy. These conscientious men found it necessary to make an uncompromising stand against seemingly all of the other churchmen of their day. They were asked questions such as this.

    “Many great scholars and theologians are on our side. How can you think that one lowly monk (or priest) could be right, and all of our wise and learned men be wrong? Will you oppose the church of God?”

    A similar argument was made by the religious leaders of the Jews against the idea of believing in Jesus.

    ”Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?”
    John 7:48


    Steve, ever since the beginning of this year, I have been deeply involved in evaluating this matter. I have probably heard or read just about every argument that has been made on either side. I have done my own research, and I have benefited from the research of others.

    The more I learn, brother, the more I agree with our Samoan Saturday Sabbath Keepers, as well as with that one lone Tonga minister and those in Tonga who are with him. For the most part, these are not our most highly educated members. Few even have access to the internet, so as to research the matter freely for themselves. They make statements like this:

    ”We accepted the 7th-day Sabbath when we became Seventh-day Adventists. We will not follow any church leaders to go back to Sunday keeping.”

    So, these are simple folk, taking a simple stand, and yet the more deeply we delve into the matter, the more the evidence supports their position. I hope we can at least agree that their convictions must be respected.

    Please do not suppose that I am alone in my convictions, or that I am relying on my judgment alone. I have found many loyal, concerned, SDA members who share my view on this matter. Many of our Samoan pastors also agree. What would you do, Steve, if you were in my shoes?

    God bless!

  11. R G White
    Thank you again for continuing with this conversation and I am glad to be a part of this dialogue.

    I still strongly believe that the main issue in our dialogue is to answer the question about the Sabbath of the Lord. What is the Sabbath day of the Lord? The answer for this is the 7th-day of the week. I know that the dictionary meaning for Saturday is the 7th-day, but we are talking here about important marks of our SDA Church and let us just use the Biblical language in our discussion. Sabbath = 7th day.

    I have cited the process of the Tonga Mission Executive (10 members), TPUM Executive (28 members), SPD Biblical Research Committee (16 members), SPD Executive (80 members) & GC BRICOM Committee (250 members) for you to see that this decision was not done lightly. It took about 5 years (2005-2009) of prayer and hard work to reach the decision that was made. This is the process that E G White advised the church to go through when they make a major decision.

    You mention John Wycliffe and his follower John Huss & Martin Luther, these great men of God were calling the church to the authority of the Bible. What is the authority of the Bible in the issue that we are discussing?

    You have said that:
    A similar argument was made by the religious leaders of the Jews against the idea of believing in Jesus.
    ”Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?”
    John 7:48

    Yes, Nicodemus believed in Christ:
    Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. John 3:1, NIV

    Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, [51] “Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?” [52] They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.” John 7:50-52, NIV.

    Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. [39] He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. John 19:38-39

    John 12:42: “Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue”

    Jairus believed in Christ. (Mark 5:35-43)

    Brother, I am glad that you have heard and evaluated almost every argument that has been made on either side. Thank you for researching and reading the research of others. I would like to invite you to read a letter from a lay person in Samoa in the http://www.adventist.org.au.

    You state that:
    Few even have access to the internet, so as to research the matter freely for themselves. They make statements like this:
    ”We accepted the 7th-day Sabbath when we became Seventh-day Adventists. We will not follow any church leaders to go back to Sunday keeping.”

    Brother, I mention this to you before. The issue is not “SUNDAY KEEPING” – The issue is “KEEPING THE 7TH DAY SABBATH HOLY.” How can we move from one 24 hours (with one sunset) to another and still say we are keeping God’s Sabbath. Did God blessed & sanctified 48 hours (two 24 hours)? How can we move and keep a wrong day to be different because the other Christian churches are keeping the 7th-day? How can we change from the sacred 24 hours that we and our ancestors have kept for the last 119 years because the parliament of Samoa would like to have a better economy in dealing business with New Zealand & Australia?

    Brother, I am glad to support the folks in the islands like Samoa & Tongan. I have helped a lot to understand the position of the SDA church and they were glad to see the truth of the issue.

    I know you are not alone in your convictions and you are not relying on your judgement alone. You said that many Samoan pastors agree with you in this matter. I have talked to four of them here and none of them understand and have any idea of the issue. They only following the view of someone they highly respected.

    You said:
    What would you do, Steve, if you were in my shoes?

    Brother, I will tell you what I will do. I will respect the leadership of the SDA Church that I love (God put them there) and pray more for God’s help in my life. If I will not be satisfied after that, I will start my own church and call it “STEVE SDA LTD.” If not, I will just keep 2 Sabbaths and wait on God for his leading.

    God Bless, from Your SDA Brother in CHRIST

    • Dear Steve,

      Thank you for continuing to engage in this conversation. I shall be happy to continue addressing your objections. You wrote:

      I still strongly believe that the main issue in our dialogue is to answer the question about the Sabbath of the Lord. What is the Sabbath day of the Lord? The answer for this is the 7th-day of the week.

      I am glad that you believe this strongly. We are in total agreement here. Of course, we must also establish the correct method for determining which day is the 7th day in any place where we may happen to be.

      You have asked that we set aside the names of the days as far as possible, for the time being, and I am willing to experiment with this, if it will help us to better understand each other.

      You wrote:

      You mention John Wycliffe and his followers John Huss & Martin Luther. These great men of God were calling the church to the authority of the Bible. What is the authority of the Bible in the issue that we are discussing?

      This is a fair question, as the Bible is our only rule of faith and practice. God made His Sabbath for a round world. Yes, I know those are the words of Ellen White, but think about it.

      “In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

      We know the earth was round. We also read how God completed His creation of the world in 6 days.

      “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Genesis 2:1-3)

      Since the 7th day of the week was sanctified (set apart) for a special purpose, worldwide, therefore the whole world was required to follow the 7-day weekly cycle.

      ”So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 11:8-9)

      From this we can see two things:

      1) According to God’s plan, as revealed in the Bible, there has to be a day line. Mankind was scattered all around the world, so they were bound to meet somewhere on the other side. If everyone had kept track of the 7-day week as God had required, then when they met they would have found that their day counts were off by one, and that their Sabbaths were 24 hours different. They would indeed have found that God had sanctified 48 hours – 24 hours on one side of the day line, and 24 hours on the other side. That’s the nature of a round world.

      2) God did not specify a location for the day line. From the Bible’s historical record, we can see why He did not. Clearly, God foresaw that the nations who would be scattered around the globe would not be obedient to Him, at least not initially. Therefore, rather than specify a day line which they would only ignore, He chose to let the day line develop naturally, as a result of migration patterns.

      Later, once travel and communication had improved, there was bound to be the need for an occasional adjustment to the day line. For instance, when the USA had purchased Alaska, there would be the need for Alaska to switch over to the same reckoning as the rest of the North American continent. Once the Spanish dominance of the Philippines had weakened, the Filipinos would feel the need to be on the same reckoning as their neighbours in the region. Jesus taught that “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” God demonstrated this by allowing the various societies (as represented by their civil authorities) the flexibility to choose the orientation of their weekly cycle. So, we can see the Bible teaches that God intended for the world to have a flexible day line.

      Regardless of their good intentions, when church leaders seek to establish a fixed day line of their own, knowing that the Bible did not fix one, they are taking over the authoritative role that belongs only to the Bible, and they are resisting the God-given authority of government to make use of the flexible day line which God has allowed them.

      The Bible says:

      ”Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” (Romans 13:1-2)

      May God bless your efforts to sort out the conflicting claims.

  12. Hello Web hosts, R. G., Steve et al,
    Interesting conversation, and I do hope the question of the date line does not make shipwreck of faith in those, or any other, countries.

    My question goes back to the film on the 7th Day. When & how, pray tell, did this film come to be? Who, exactly, is Jeff Wood? When is the new film, “Hell and Mr. Fudge” to come out?

    Thanks,
    George

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