A number of arguments have been presented to make it appear that after the December 2011 dateline realignment in regard to Samoa, the genuine Sabbath would fall on the day that is generally known as Sunday, or the day before Monday. We shall examine each argument individually.
Is the Dateline Realignment a Calendar Change?
Argument: The change of the IDL in Samoa is a calendar change, resulting in a renaming of the days in their sequence by skipping one of the names in the weekly sequence of names. The decision taken by the Samoan government is a political decision for trade purposes.
The core premise above, that “The change of the IDL in Samoa is a calendar change, resulting in a renaming of the days in their sequence by skipping one of the names in the weekly sequence of names, ” is false. Thus all conclusions derived from it will be incorrect.
It is logical that if you shift the table (dateline) then you shift all the chairs (days) as well, in this case, to the same position as New Zealand. The so-called ”skipping a day” is an illusion. We do not accept that it is a calendar change. What happened was that Samoa aligned with the time zone of New Zealand, which means they went to sleep on Thursday the 29th to wake up on Saturday the 31th, taking away the name and the number of Friday the 30th. Therefore it is incorrect to say it was a calendar change only taking away the name of Friday but leaving the number 30th on the calendar as the the South Pacific Division explanation would make it appear.
Each day of the seven-day weekly cycle is observed around the globe spanning a 48-hour period of time (two rotations of the earth), but by individual nations over a 24 hour period of time (one rotation). It takes only 24 hours for the beginning of a day to move around the planet, before another day begins at the dateline. However, it takes another 24 hours for the previous day to run to its conclusion on the east of the IDL – that is, at locations near the dateline some countries only begin a day when others are ending it.
What Samoa has legitimately chosen to do is to shift to the first part of the day sequence instead of the second part, effectively starting their day 24 hours earlier, the so-called, ”skipping a day.” But when Samoa begins a Saturday in the same time zone as New Zealand, it is the very same Saturday that Sabbath Keepers in American Samoa will begin 24 hours later. For an illustration of how this works, it will be helpful to view the animation in the Wikipedia article on the dateline or the excellent Youtube video on “How the Dateline Works.”
What troubles us is that the very men who were involved with this South Pacific Division policy and recommendation regularly travel across the dateline, ”skipping a day,” yet have a different interpretation of the process than they do for the Samoan government shifting the dateline. This is a double standard. The Division recommendation is for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Samoa to keep an unbroken seven-day cycle of time that they don’t keep themselves when they cross the dateline. If the recommendation stands, are we expecting Seventh-day Adventists from Samoa traveling to New Zealand or Australia to worship on Sunday in those countries? (This would be consistent with maintaining the unbroken seven-day cycle of actual time which they have accepted at home.)
The presupposition of a calendar change makes it just as impossible for us to argue against the calling of Sunday the Sabbath in Tonga, and now in Samoa, as it is to argue against evolution with people who have presupposed that there is no Creator God.
We therefore call for the rejection of this concept designating the dateline realignment “a calendar change resulting in a renaming of the days,” and for Sunday keeping to be completely disassociated from the Seventh-day Adventist Church forthwith.
Argument: As most Sunday keepers care less about the weekly sequence of time, they most likely without hesitation will change along with the new calendar and gather for worship on what now will be named Sunday, previously Saturday.
We must compare ourselves with Scripture—the nature of God and the nature of the church—rather than the nature of ”most Sunday keepers” and how they may react. Nevertheless, we believe that the decision of the non-Adventist Christians in Samoa to accept the realignment with the dateline is the correct decision, and it should not be denigrated by the supposition that they ”care less” about the weekly sequence of time.
Do Names of Days Signify Real Time Or Not?
Argument: The question for the SDA Church is whether it wants to use the opportunity to change as well. In light of the Bible and Adventist theology, is the name given for a particular day of the week more important than the actual time for keeping the seventh day a week?
The name given for a particular day denotes the actual time for observing it. The name is not important, but it is important that it has a name. In the light of the Bible, Adventist theology, and practise, the name given to the seventh day of the week is Saturday. (The account in Luke 23:54-24:1 makes clear that the Sabbath comes after the Preparation day and before the first day of the week on which Christ rose from the dead – the day commonly designated as Sunday.)
The two questions raised by representatives for the SPD are based on the presupposition that there has been a calendar change, rather than a realignment to the dateline. The first question should read, “The question for the SDA Church is whether it wants to use the opportunity to realign with the dateline as well.” It would seem that, because of the predetermination that the shifting of the dateline constituted a calendar change, Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa were never asked if they were happy to ‘realign’.
The second question is the result of the presupposition that ”actual time” is separated from named time. It is unreasonable to create this dichotomy between the name given for a particular day of the week and the actual time for keeping it. The two belong together. ”Actual time” needs a name so we all know what we are talking about, because we only recognize actual time by its name. Therefore we cannot have the same day known by two different names, no matter how ”actual” the time is. People only exist in one day at a time in a given location. Actual time needs an official name to refer to for any social community purpose.
The ”actual time” for Saturday needs a name so it isn’t confused with the ”actual time” for Sunday. Common English dictionaries define Saturday as: ”the seventh day of the week, following Friday.” Finally, the name that defines the day of the week is important because the commandment says ”Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,” and, ”the seventh day is the Sabbath.” (Exodus 20:8-11). In today’s society, there is a name for the seventh day, and that name is Saturday. Thus Saturday is the biblical Sabbath.
Argument: If Adventists are to keep what will be named Saturday, which was called Friday before the calendar change, it is a major change, and as such it would need strong justification.
This argument is false because there was no calendar change. Instead, the country aligned with Asian time—shifting from one time zone to another to align with New Zealand.
Saturday west of the dateline is exactly the same day as Saturday east of the dateline. The only difference is that countries west of the dateline begin the day, and countries east of the dateline end the day on its journey around the earth. Thus the day which has always been named Saturday is still the Sabbath after the time zone shift.
Continuing to keep Saturday as Sabbath is continuing the practice of Adventists in Samoa for the last 120 years or so. The keeping of Sunday as Sabbath is, in fact, “a major change.”
Argument: Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa should continue to keep every seventh day of the week, which means that, after the calendar change, they should worship on the day then named Sunday.
This recommendation is false because there was no calendar change, only a shift in time zone which also resulted in an IDL realignment. We believe that, in harmony with any Seventh-day Adventist who crosses the IDL, Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa should worship on the seventh-day Sabbath, which is Saturday in the location they are, rather than attempt to maintain an “unbroken seven-day cycle” from the place of their birth or former location.
Argument: There is a difference between naming the days and timing the weekly sequence. The names and numbers used throughout the world for the week days differ and have been and are changed by various cultures. But the actual sequence of time is independent of such calendar changes. Naming is cultural, actual time is determined by the sun.
The way days are arranged on the calendar is irrelevant to the discussion. Whether the ISO calendar (which begins the week with Monday) or the local calendar is used, the seventh day can easily be recognized by its name—whether it is positioned last in the week or in sixth place. In other parts of the world, Adventist practise has not been influenced by calendars that have Monday as the first day of the week.
The problem in Tonga, and now in Samoa and elsewhere, is that Adventists treat Saturday as secular and Sunday as Sabbath. The calendar gives us the names of the days of the week with certainty, while so-called ”actual time” is a subjective, cultural notion which has been derived from Adventist Pacific Island heritage. Naming is global and describes actual time.
Unbroken 7-Day Sequence
The following arguments are based on two half truths and a complete omission:
Argument: Adventists find it biblical to keep the seventh day, that is, every seventh day in an unbroken sequence of time.
This is a half-truth, because keeping “every seventh day” is Adventist practice, except when crossing the dateline.
Argument: The time for the Sabbath is determined by the movement of the sun which moves in an unbroken line around the globe. The Sabbath is to be kept accordingly.
This is another half-truth because the Sabbath is also determined by the international dateline, as is every other day of the week.
Another omitted truth is that Sabbath is recorded in Scripture in events surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection as being the day between Friday (preparation day) and Sunday (the first day). No one on the planet has any trouble figuring out which day is Sunday, the first day of the week. Thus there should be no difficulty figuring out which day is the Sabbath, since it immediately precedes Sunday.
Argument: We keep the seventh day as the Sabbath. If Adventists in Samoa were to keep what the new calendar will name Saturday, they will have broken this consistent adherence to every seventh day as the Sabbath. They will in that case have skipped a day and no longer keep an actual seventh-day cycle. This would be directly contrary to what Adventists evangelists and apologists from the very beginning of our existence have claimed in connection to the Gregorian calendar reform.
This statement begins to lay a “guilt trip” on those who don’t accept the initial presupposition of a change to a new calendar. It also presupposes that the 180° Meridian is a biblical dividing line between days when we agree that it is not.
The statement ignores the fact that the exception—skipping a day in changing from one time zone to another—does not change the rule of an actual seven-day cycle. In fact, the keeping of Sunday violates the teachings we have promoted from our beginnings—that the seventh-day Sabbath is distinct from Sunday, which is the mark of man’s authority. According to the science of time on this planet, Saturday on one side of the dateline is exactly the same day as Saturday on the other side of the dateline.
Argument: If it would be right to make such a change in the time sequence in Samoa, we would be forced to conclude that Adventists in Samoa until now have been keeping the wrong day as their Sabbath or that it does not matter whether we keep the seventh day.
This statement is false. The time zone shift from one side of the IDL to the other only needs logical explanation. Earth has two different days being observed in any 24-hour period and nations near the dateline choose which day they are observing. These two periods are contiguous, spanning 48 hours to allow every person on earth to experience a Wednesday, a Thursday, a Friday, etc.
Each day is like a tram with two carriages, or a car with a back seat and a front seat. All that the people in Samoa are doing is shifting from the second carriage to the first, or from the back seat to the front. To do this they must board 24 hours earlier, the so-called, ”skipping a day.”
The week is like seven of these trams or cars going around the globe, one for each day. The Seventh-day Adventists board the Saturday vehicle, then the Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, etc., enter the Sunday vehicle 24 hours later. The Sabbath journey starts at sunset at the dateline and finishes 48 hours later, each country boarding the vehicle for 24 of those hours each. Then, 24 hours into the journey of the Sabbath vehicle, the Sunday vehicle starts its 48-hour journey, and so on.
By design or default, the Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa are now being taught to board the Sunday car along with the Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, etc.
Matters of Respect and Authority
Argument: It is obvious that the positioning of the international dateline is a human decision. Though necessary, it is not based on any divine revelation or direct biblical statement.
The argument does not state why the dateline is necessary, when we all know that it is necessary in a global world to agree on where the day begins. It is necessary for clarity and unity, law and order, record keeping, story telling and everyday appointments worldwide. Therefore, being a civil decision, the principle of Romans 13:1-7 should apply. (See also Mark 12:13-17 & Matt 22:15-21). The realigning of Samoa in regard to the dateline is no infringement or impediment to keeping the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, the day between Friday and Sunday, as explained unequivocally in Luke 23:54-24:1
Argument: When Adventists have followed and continue to follow the 180th meridian as the dateline, it is based not only on consistency and logic, but also on biblical principles for determining and keeping the Sabbath.
Consistency and logic is abandoned by those who ignore the international dateline and observe the Sabbath on Sunday when their intention is to worship on the Bible Sabbath. God has not given the Seventh-day Adventist church the authority to decree where the dateline should be. Neither has He authorized the church to have a private dateline that is distinct from the dateline used by the rest of the world.
The recommended practice of keeping Sunday as Sabbath in Samoa may place Adventists in harmony with Adventists in Tonga, Kiribati, Wallis and Futuna, but it places them out of harmony with Scripture and the belief and practice of Seventh-day Adventists everywhere else in the world.
Consistency is great unless you are consistently in error. Adventist Sunday keepers deny the shifting of the dateline for religious purposes yet will accept it for all other appointments and record keeping such as births, deaths, marriages, etc. Their Sabbath School lessons and the calendars on their walls say Sunday, the 8th of January, when they are treating it as Sabbath, the 7th of January.
Argument: Next it is important to show respect for the Samoan government. The decision to change its date line is a decision that Samoa is in its full right to make. It is a political decision made for trading purposes. Adventists should certainly not question the right of the Republic of Samoa to make such a change. But it would be a sign of disrespect for the Samoan government to imply that it intends by this law to decide when its people, in particular Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa, are to keep their holy day. This law is a change of calendar, not a law for worship.
Quite the contrary. It is disrespecting the Samoan government to pretend to continue to live by the time zone on the other side of the IDL. Repeating the falsehood that the law “is a change of calendar” does not turn the falsehood into a fact.
Argument: It would be incorrect to compare the calendar change to other civil laws and thereby imply that Adventists do something disloyal or even illegal in Samoa by not changing their day of worship.
The argument is fundamentally wrong because those embracing the Sabbath between Friday and Sunday are not “changing their day of worship.” In fact they are keeping the same day of worship as their Samoan ancestors did. It is deceptive to imply that skipping a day in a realignment of the dateline alters the time sequence when it is simply related to shifting from one time zone to another, crossing the dateline in the process. Adventists who keep Sunday are the ones who are “changing their day of worship.”
Furthermore, it is false to say “this law is a change of calendar” when it is not. The same world calendar is used on both sides of the dateline and in all other places of the world. On the other hand, to keep Sabbath on a calendar day named “Sunday,” the first day of the week, has been and will be destructive to the credibility and mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, until it is abandoned and reconciliation takes place.
Argument: It is important in the process and argumentation to show and express the proper respect to the church and the people of Samoa – to show respect to the Samoan fathers and mothers of the Adventist Church who for generations have consistently kept the Sabbath every seventh day. To change the time sequence, skip a day, and now keep the sixth day in the time sequence, would to me be very disrespectful to those Samoan pillars of faith who testified to the Sabbath during times gone by. Such change would imply that these Samoan Adventists were all wrong in their Sabbath keeping.
Response: It is inappropriate to entangle respect for Samoa and the Samoan fathers and mothers of the Adventist church into the discussion. The Sabbath is about honour to the Creator and Redeemer, not about honour to the state, or the feelings we may have toward our forebears or present.
Nevertheless, Samoan fathers and mothers of the Adventist Church kept the day before Sunday as the Sabbath, not Sunday! Disrespect is shown to Samoan fathers and mothers of the Adventist church by leading their children into apostasy and bringing confusion into the world-wide Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa can best be respected by giving them sound explanations that allow them to make an intelligent decision to worship on the seventh-day Sabbath and maintain the uniqueness of the Adventist message. Recommending that they worship on a different day and date from all other members of the world-wide Seventh-day Adventist Church is not demonstrating respect for their intelligence and spiritual discernment.
Argument: Concerns raised in opposition to the SPD arguments, such as the uniqueness of the Adventist message, need to be acknowledged. The paramount issue is how such a decision can be communicated so that it takes these concerns into consideration.
We continue to contest this decision. Such a decision cannot be communicated at all in light of the uniqueness of the Adventist message, because it undermines Adventist teaching on the Sabbath, the day between Friday and Sunday. To us it will and has become impossible to explain the uniqueness of the Adventist message because of the poor judgment of the SPD leadership.
To quote Dr Lyell Heise, ”I am aware of an argument which contends that the sunset to sunset convention carries Sabbath identity sufficiently, but as one who has done extended visits, and indeed conducted evangelistic campaigns in Tonga, I find that argument totally unconvincing.” Lyell Heise, “Towards Honouring the Sabbath on a Round World,” Oct 11, 2009.
Argument: The right practice for Samoa is to follow the example of Tonga and other Pacific Island Adventists who keep Sabbath on the day locally known as Sunday. The principles laid out by the SPD Biblical Research Committee and embraced by BRICOM are clear, have been accepted by leaders throughout the Pacific, and also been supported independently by the Church and its local members both in Wallis & Futuna and Kiribati.
While the above mentioned have supported the proposition as described, the terms of reference were built on there being a calendar change rather than a simple shift of time zone that includes crossing the dateline. God does not expect us to blindly follow even church authorities. He expects us to use common sense and clear reasoning in obeying His laws, rather than the dictates of either human or church governments.
We must ask ourselves whether Adventist Church authorities are the appropriate ruling body on the matter of the dateline, or whether it is the duly constituted governments of the nations concerned.
Red Herring Arguments
The following arguments are irrelevant to the question under discussion and only serve to distract.
Argument: In 1582 the Gregorian calendar was introduced to replace the Julian calendar. It was accepted throughout the Western world in stages, and it resulted in the insertion of 10 days into the calendar. Adventists have found it necessary at evangelistic meetings and in their apologetics to underline that the sequence of the names for the weekdays was not changed in that process. The 10 days were inserted into a month, but the names of the week days followed consecutively without any break. Therefore, what is today called Saturday in the Western calendars, is still the correct Sabbath.
The world uses one calendar. The above statement neglects to recognize that it takes 24 hours for the beginning of a day to move across the face of the earth, according to exposure of the face to the sun. It neglects to acknowledge that the day begins in just west of the dateline and moves around the planet to the Western nations, ending just east of the dateline. . (By the time the day ends to the east of the dateline, it is ready to begin just west of the dateline and will take 24 hours to finish.) Therefore it is imperative that Sabbath keepers on both sides of the dateline keep the Sabbath on the day between Friday and Sunday in their location. It is only that way that they will be keeping the same day.
Argument: In the early 1970’s, however, Europe changed the numbering of the days of the week, so that Sunday is now numbered as the seventh day.
This statement is misleading because it is irrelevant. The change in Europe had nothing to do with the international dateline. Europeans still recognize the dateline as the beginning of their day and keep Sabbath between Friday and Sunday.
Argument: Adventists do not count their Sabbath according to such cultural decisions in regard to names and numbers, but according to the actual time sequence. Our seventh day Sabbath is, therefore, in Europe what is named Saturday though Saturday is generally regarded as the sixth day of the week in that part of the world.
This statement is deceptive because it introduces the position of days on a calendar. ”Actual time sequence” as well as day sequence are determined by dates and the international dateline, not by the position of days on a calendar. Whether Sunday is positioned first or last on a calendar, it is still the same day around the world, and the seventh-day Sabbath precedes it.
The problem for Tonga, and now Samoa, is that the rigid application of an “unbroken seven-day cycle” established by the missionaries on a American time experience forbids them from shifting to an Asian time experience, thereby forcing them into Sunday worship. This is nonsense in the light of global mission and is inconsistent with reasonable Biblical interpretation.
Argument: During the past 50 years or so, the clock has been changed many times in various places in the Western world in particular to accommodate for what is popularly called ”summer” and ”winter” time, more correctly day light saving time, resulting in the cultural timing of sunset or the darkest hour of the day switching and changing.
This argument is irrelevant and misleading because the timing of the opening and closing of Sabbath is not in question. We are discussing the dateline and the Sabbath in Samoa, not “summer” and “winter” time and its effects. And, for that matter, Adventists have not generally argued with a shift in time zones, which “summer” and “winter” time is.
Argument: Adventists have consistently refused to be governed by the cultural setting of the clock, but throughout the world, also in places with unique challenges such as northern Norway, Adventists have followed real time, as indicated by the sun.
Another misleading argument, because consistently, all over the world, Adventists have followed real time, as indicated by the sun and the dateline, to determine the Sabbath. That is, sunset to sunset, beginning at the dateline. Clocks only help us to know how close or when the sunset is, especially on a cloudy day or in a building. Therefore discussing Adventists’ refusal to be governed by cultural clock setting is irrelevant and confusing, if not altogether false. (Besides, we know of no place that Adventists have refused to go along with shifting of time zones such as “summer” and “winter” time.)
Argument: It is understandable that there is a concern that keeping the Sabbath on the calendar day named Sunday in the culture of Samoa may result in less emphasis on the Adventist uniqueness. The Sabbath is, after all, traditionally a distinctive theological feature of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
As a matter of fact, keeping Sunday destroys Seventh-day Adventist uniqueness and credibility, not only in Samoa, but throughout the world, because Sabbath keeping begins just west of the IDL and ends just east of the IDL. And if the Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa are now correct in keeping Sunday as the Sabbath, then the world church needs to realign. This reasoning for Sunday keeping in Samoa provides the logic for Seventh-day Adventists to conform to Sunday observance everywhere else as well. At present it will involve anyone who visits or leaves Samoa to worship with Seventh-day Adventists elsewhere.
Argument: Samoan theologians and Christians are perfectly able to understand the issues involved. If Adventists change their Sabbath to the sixth day in the weekly time sequence, other Christians will all know that Adventists have not actually kept the seventh day in the week as their Sabbath, and that it has only been changed in order to be different.
It is misleading to lay this explanation at the feet of “Samoan theologians” when the directive has come from non-Samoan theologians in the SPD. Theologians and Christians who do not accept Samoa’s realignment to the IDL demonstrate that they do not understand the issues involved.
In actuality, those observing Sabbath on Saturday are continuing to keep the seventh day in the week as their Sabbath, while those who keep Sunday, upon SPD recommendations, are the ones who have changed their Sabbath to the first day of the week.
Furthermore, it is wrong to speculate about what other Christians will know. The core issue is simple: Which side of a man-made dateline does the local society calculate their week-day sequence? It is already clear that many other Christians do not accept the SPD argument and see Seventh-day Adventist Sunday keeping as merely a “convenient compromise” in places that have strong Sunday laws, such as Tonga.
It is wrong to introduce speculation, emotion, and a threat into the discussion, by saying, “If Adventists change their Sabbath to the sixth day in the weekly time sequence,” certain evil consequences will occur. The reason that the distinctive Adventist doctrine has been lost in Tonga will only be compounded by Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa keeping the day called Sunday, which is the first day of the week.
Argument: Keeping the new Saturday would mean that the very reason for the distinctive Adventist doctrine would be lost. We are distinctive in our Sabbath keeping exactly because we have always kept the seventh day of the week in the actual time sequence, and if we do not do that any more, that argument loses all power.
We are distinctive in our Sabbath keeping, but not because ”we have always kept the seventh day of the week in the actual time sequence,” since Adventist travelers have never calculated their keeping of Sabbath on a seven-day “actual time sequence” when crossing the dateline. They keep it according to the local time of their destination.
The exception does not break the rule, nor does it weaken the argument for a continuous seventh-day Sabbath. We have never heard of ”the actual time sequence” being a criterion, and we are skeptical of its existence because of the dateline and the 48-hour span of time in a day. The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Tonga has lost its distinctiveness in spite of having ”always kept the seventh of the week in the actual time sequence,” according to current arguments, because it has kept Sunday.
Argument: We should use this exceptional opportunity to especially invite other Christians in Samoa to our Church. Let us remember that the Adventist understanding of the Sabbath is far more than just a day of worship. Let us congratulate other Christians for now keeping the seventh day as their day of worship, and let us invite them to join in the blessings of keeping the whole day as a Sabbath with the Samoan Adventist family who consistently has kept that day since the arrival of the message in Samoa. We may then use this opportunity to make all the other unique facets of our beliefs known in the most positive manner.
It is a tragedy that any in a leadership positions should recommend that we “use this exceptional opportunity to invite other Christians in Samoa to our church.” To ignore or detract from the imperative of Creator worship is to shoot Seventh-day Adventist credibility and mission in the foot. It is true that “the Sabbath is far more than just a day of worship.” It is a sign that the Lord is the One who sanctifies us, and to “sanctify” means to set apart for holy purposes. This can best be taught by keeping a day that has been “sanctified” and set apart for holy purpose right during creation week. Even our Saviour rested in the grave on the day before Sunday, the day that was sanctified at the end of creation week.
It is an insult to other Christians to congratulate them for now keeping the seventh day as their day of worship when they have chosen the first day of the week as their day of worship, which they call the “Lord’s Day” in honour of the resurrection. That is like saying, “Congratulations, other Christians, you are now keeping the seventh day Sabbath by default.”
Such congratulations would also imply some sort of legal merit in keeping the correct day, rather than recognizing that we are saved by faith. This recommendation is too bizarre to take seriously.
Furthermore, Sunday is the day that establishes the authority of the papacy, and no amount of “unbroken cycle” argumentation will change that.
- There has been no calendar change, only a shift in time zone, resulting in the realignment from the Western to the Eastern hemisphere reckoning as determined by the IDL.
The IDL realignment is not a calendar change
Each day is determined by two factors, not one – sunset and the dateline.
The day begins at the IDL just west of it, and then moves across the face of the planet to the eastern side of the IDL.
The Sabbath is observed over the course of 48 hours beginning just west of the IDL and ending just east of the IDL.
The presupposition of a calendar change and the “renaming of days” is false. A day was apparently lost by a change of time zones across the IDL – just as an hour is apparently lost when Daylight Savings time goes into effect.
The so-called ‘skipping a day’ is necessary for understanding the realignment in the same way travelers adjust for crossing the IDL. It is also similar to “skipping an hour” of the night by changing to Daylight Savings time.
- Biblically the Sabbath can only be the day between Friday and Sunday, that is Saturday, defined by the dictionary as the seventh day of the week. There is no dichotomy between “actual time” and “named time.”
- Instructing Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa to now keep Sunday:
- Is unbiblical
- Creates confusion regarding the nature of God, the nature of the church, and the respect due to both
- Is inconsistent with Sabbath keeping practises of the world church
- Creates a double standard for travelers crossing the IDL
- Confirms the error of keeping Sunday as Sabbath in Tonga, Wallis & Futuna, and Kiribati
- Respect for those in Samoa would be better shown by a correct explanation of the IDL, showing how they can live in harmony with their community and the world church by upholding the biblical Sabbath.
- The unity of the world church regarding the Bible teaching of the seventh day is thrown into confusion by the keeping of Sunday by Seventh-day Adventists.
- Sunday keeping churches in Samoa have made the correct decision to realign with the IDL. They are not keeping the Sabbath, but Seventh-day Adventists are keeping Sunday.
It is never too late to do the right thing. We call for all church members in the Pacific to recognize Saturday as the Sabbath according to the official calendar used in their community for all appointments and record keeping.
The corporate SDA church needs to decide conclusively whether the Samoan government initiated a calendar change or a dateline realignment. She can’t have it both ways. It is apparent that the people who call it a “calendar change” base all other appointments, apart from Sabbath, on the realignment principle, therefore maintaining a double standard. (We understand that even the Samoa-Tokelau Mission office close early on Friday Asia time, instead of continuing to close on Friday, American time, which is the local Saturday.)
We share the pain of our brethren around the dateline and we want them to know they are not alone. Therefore we appeal to that the world-wide church actively support seventh-day Sabbath keeping on Saturday, and disassociate itself from all forms of Sunday keeping.
(Please also see our essay, “The Sabbath in the Pacific Around the Date Line” for a summary of the arguments for keeping Sabbath on Saturday, the seventh day of the local calendar.)
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5 February 2012
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