Awakening for Adventists in Samoa?
avatar

Pa’u Fereti Puni

In response to the Discipleship and the Persecution articles mentioned in our newsletter and the “The Next Step—Discipleship” post, one writer referred to a story in Scott Adams’ book, God’s Debris, about some bees that landed on the stained glass window of a cathedral. A bee that had landed on a piece of red glass described the inside of the cathedral to another bee that was sitting on a piece of green glass. None of the description made sense to the bee on the green glass. When the “green glass” bee described what he saw, the “red glass” bee thought he was an idiot and told him so. So they argued, two bees, who by chance had landed on two different bits of glass, about their different views of what was inside the cathedraluntil their friendship ceased and the argument became more important than what they were seeing. And it never occurred to the bees that if they had walked a mere six bee steps towards one another, they would have seen the cause of their argument.

Someone else replied with the lyrics of the favourite gospel hymn, ‘What a day that will be.’

There is coming a day,
When no heartaches shall come,
No more clouds in the sky,
No more tears to dim the eye,
All is peace forever more,
On that happy golden shore,
What a day, glorious day that will be!What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be!

There’ll be no sorrow there,
No more burdens to bear,
No more sickness, no pain,
No more parting over there;
And forever I will be,
With the One who died for me,
What a day, glorious day that will be!

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be!

In the Samoa Sabbath dilemma, both sides are in agreement that the 7th day is the Lord’s Sabbath. The opposing views arise in the counting of days. I have taken the view that the Samoa Sabbath dilemma has come together in such a way that this is a “greater awakening and shaking time” for Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa, the Pacific region and the worldwide church.

Two photos: Laulii children attending Sabbath at the Lighthouse last week. The joy and purity in their hearts as they attend church each week is reflected in their smile. Somewhere in their hearts they know of that glorious day; and what a day that will be!

Someone else pointed to four basic truths about the Samoa Sabbath situation, and three of them confirm that Saturday is still the seventh-day Sabbath:

  1. The 7thday Sabbath is instituted in Genesis 1 to Gen. 2:1-3.
  2. Sequence of Preparation Day, Sabbath Day and the 1stday of the week is recorded in Mark 15:42 & Luke 24:1-7
  3. Polynesians migrated from Asia keeping Asia time-cycle and populated the Pacific Islands and Oceania. Christianity for the Islands of the Pacific came from the West to East (i.e. Australia and New Zealand to Tonga and Samoa).
  4. There were two time changes in Samoa:  the first on July 4th 1892 from Asian to USA time-cycle and December 29th 2011 reverting back to Asian time-cycle.

I was also reminded of the following words from the pen of Ellen White:

Message in music by Matamua, Savali and Mose

“At times, when a small group of men entrusted with the general management of the work have, in the name of the General Conference, sought to carry out unwise plans and to restrict God’s work, I have said that I could no longer regard the voice of the General Conference, represented by these few men, as the voice of God. But this is not saying that the decisions of a General Conference composed of an assembly of duly appointed, representative men from all parts of the field should not be respected. God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority. The error that some are in danger of committing is in giving to the mind and judgment of one man, or of a small group of men, the full measure of authority and influence that God has vested in His church in the judgment and voice of the General Conference assembled to plan for the prosperity and advancement of His work. {9T 260.2}

Worshiping under tents provided by the Sabbath Keepers Network (SKN)

“When this power, which God has placed in the church, is accredited wholly to one man, and he is invested with the authority to be judgment for other minds, then the true Bible order is changed. Satan’s efforts upon such a man’s mind would be most subtle and sometimes well-nigh overpowering, for the enemy would hope that through his mind he could affect many others. Let us give to the highest organized authority in the church that which we are prone to give to one man or to a small group of men.” (Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 9, p. 261.1)


(Adapted from the Sabbath Keepers Network Newsletter #12)

Share

Comments

Awakening for Adventists in Samoa? — 11 Comments

  1. My Dear Brothers and Sisters,

    I have read all of your comments on the issue of Samoa changing the Sabbath Day to Sunday and about the leaders of the church in Samoa who abuse the power that GOD allowed them, to lead and teach his children through his word (THE BIBLE). This is something I feel we should not be concerned about. The decisions were made by those leaders who clearly know the truth of what the right SABBATH day is, and it is they like us all who have to answer for the choices they make, for it is written in Exodus (20:8-11). We can neither change nor dispute what is in GOD’s word, in Deuteronomy (4:2) and Matthew (24:35). GOD’s word is infinite, everlasting and unfading, which brings to mind a phrase that I heard when I was on the outside looking in, if you can understand what I mean. Anyway, it went like this: You’d better watch yourself, you’d better check yourself, before you find yourself by yourself. 1) You’d better watch yourself: To Those who abuse their calling and power which is a gift and a proud privilege given to the leaders who are ordained by GOD, who are supposed to teach all according to the word of GOD. 2) You’d better check yourself: To The leaders who go with the flow to the tune of the fiddler who deceives us and leads GOD’s children astray. 3) Before you find yourself by yourself: To The Leaders who know the truth, yet they’ve made the choice to follow the majority and the deceiver, will suffer the consequences of their actions and find that it is very lonely on the outside looking in.

    The analogy is that this misconception can be misconstrued through the deception of the truth being twisted to fit the plan which best suits the way of life which the deceiver wants us to live. That is why we as children of GOD should remain diligent and ever strong in our Faith and know that by the Grace of GOD through Our Lord Jesus Christ we are saved, and knowing that in His time we will prevail. Judge not lest ye be judged, my brothers and sisters. In spite of all that is happening around us daily, our focus should be on spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and not disputing issues that are out of our control — and pray that GOD will make a way because, brothers and sisters, if you truly know the Bible, then you know how this story ends. So it doesn’t matter. Let he who is a deceiver be a deceiver still, and he who is a liar be a liar still, and so on, but we should not forget that we are supposed to pray for everyone, not just ourselves.

    I have seen in my life the evil that Satan is capable of, and believe me I have been, seen and done it all in my life, but through The Blood Of Jesus Christ I am saved. Be careful not to be quick to judge anyone, for I can attest to that, in that I have trusted those who call me brother yet behind the scenes judged me because of a fabricated story that was evolved by others, and were quick to get caught up in it and forgot what it meant to be a true Seventh-day Adventist Christian brother. GOD KNOWS IT ALL!!! And knowing that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, Our Redeemer, Our Avenger and our Vindicator is what has given me the peace of mind I have needed to carry on.

    A wise brother told me, a while back, that we as Christians, with all the knowledge we’ve been given, cannot come close to the foolishness of GOD. So, to understand why things happen is not for us to dwell upon because GOD knows, but through the power of prayer we can know that GOD will make the difference in His time, and as Our Lord Jesus Christ says, to give Him all of our burdens and cares and He will give us rest. Being deceived is what our LORD JESUS CHRIST warned us to beware of. That is why daily devotion and prayer for all, strengthening our faith through the power of the HOLY SPIRIT and being covered by his robe of righteousness are the way we should all strive to live. May we all pray for those who have made these hasty decisions, for GOD’s people, that shouldn’t have been made, and for all those in need of our prayers. Love to all of our Seventh-day Adventist family around the world! KEEP YOUR FAITH STRONG!!! GOD BLESS!!!!!!! REMEMBER HOW THIS STORY ENDS IN THE BIBLE!!!!!!! Don’t slide down the slippery slope of confusion and despair. Stand on solid ground, for Jesus is the rock of our salvation. His robe of righetousness and love should be sufficient as we keep our focus on the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. MAY GOD BLESS US ALL!!!

  2. Samoa and Tonga locate in the Western Hemisphere and keep its Sabbath on the 7th day (Saturday of the Western Hemisphere). This day in Samoa & Tonga is called Sunday because they want to have the same days with Australia & New Zealand in the Eastern Hemisphere for commercial reasons.

    Ellen G White recognised the dateline on her way to Australia via Samoa and also her way back to USA.

    Please read the articles in the (adventist.org.au) website with open mind and God will lead you. More than 95% of Samoan membership are worshipping on the 7th day (which is wrongly called Sunday in Samoa now – for business reasons). American Samoa still rightly called the day Saturday because both islands are in the Western Hemisphere.

    These are few questions for us to think about. WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE PARLIAMENT OF SAMOA WILL DECIDE TO CHANGE THE DATELINE AGAIN NEXT YEAR? ARE WE STILL HAVING THE SAME SEVEN DAY CYCLE FROM CREATION? WHAT DID GOD SAY ABOUT SATURDAY AND SUNDAY IN THE BIBLE? DID THE MESSENGER OF GOD, E. G. WHITE RECOGNIZED THE INTERNATIONAL DATELINE? WHAT’S THE NAME OF YOUR CHURCH, SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST OR SATURDAY ADVENTIST? DID SAMOA KEEP THE WRONG SABBATH IN THE LAST 100+ YEARS? WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT THE LEADERS, WHO PUT THEM THERE? HOW MANY FUNDAMENTAL BELIEFS THAT MY CHURCH HAVE? WHAT I NEED TO DO IF I DISAGREE WITH THE PASTORS IN SAMOA, SAMOA-TOKELAU MISSION, TRANS PACIFIC UNION MISSION & SOUTH PACIFIC DIVISION? HOW CAN I HELP THE CHURCH THAT I LOVE?

    LOVE FROM YOUR BROTHER IN CHRIST, FULL TIME WORKER FOR GOD IN HIS CHURCH,

    • Wow, brother, how can one answer all of this and keep it brief? 😉

      Your conclusions, in regard to what is correct and what is not, all seem to be based on your concept of the Eastern and Western “hemispheres,” but what are these, really? Is the concept based on any physical feature of the globe? No. Your “hemispheres” are based on using the Greenwich meridian, and its anti-meridian, to artificially divide the earth. In other words, this concept has no authority from God.

      By contrast, the civil authorities do have God-given power to make decisions within their legitimate sphere of authority.

      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 (NKJV)

      It seems obvious enough that, if there really is a legitimate choice to be made in regard to a society’s reckoning of the weekly cycle, that would be a secular and civil matter, with only an incidental effect on our Sabbath observance. But, is there really a choice between options?

      God rested on the seventh day, and set it apart for man to observe in honor of his creation of the heavens and the earth in six literal days. He blessed and sanctified and made holy the day of rest. When men are so careful to search and dig to see in regard to the precise period of time, we are to say, God made his Sabbath for a round world; and when the seventh day comes to us in that round world, controlled by the sun that rules the day, it is the time in all countries and lands to observe the Sabbath… {3SM 317.1}

      A round world means there has to be a day line. Sunset circles the globe continuously, so how are we to know when Thursday sunset suddenly becomes Friday sunset? Are there any physical phenomena to determine this? No.

      It was first determined by migration patterns as mankind spread around the world. Today, far around the world from our point of origin, civil authorities are conscious of the fact that they do have two options from which to choose — the orientation of the easterly migrants from Babel and the orientation of the westerly migrants. Since it was God who made the Sabbath for a round world, it seems evident that it was also God who placed this power in the hands of government. We know when the Sabbath arrives, wherever we are, because the local people, led by their government, can easily tell us which sunset is on the eve of the 7th day, called Saturday in English.

      God bless!

    • If one is to go back to the first IDL change made by Samoa in 1892 and then apply the unbroken 7day cycle that the Sunday worshippers adhere to, then the last 100+ years our Sunday advocates would be Fridaynites (the 7th day would be Friday). Now wouldn’t that be interesting! Would love to see Samoa change back, just to see how faithful and committed our people in Samoa would be? Friday Sabbath or Saturday Sabbath?? I would suggest that Friday as a Sabbath would be too much of a challenge for many as there would be too much to lose! Would be a good test for the remnant.

      Knowing what we know today, a question for the Sunday worshippers? If the Govt of Samoa crossed over the IDL again,and keeping to your 7th day unbroken cycle, would Friday Sabbath be ‘convinient or inconvenient’?

    • Your love for the church, bro. Steve is very commenable. I don’t live in Samoa. Where I live Saturday is the Sabbath, and I also love my church. I fully believe the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been entrusted with the truth for these last days. Yet, I simply can not read the book “Great Controversy” and the many other prophetic and doctrinal articles concerning the Sabbath, and come to the conclusion that it doesn’t matter whether we worship on Saturday or Sunday.

      Sunday as the sabbath just goes against everything we’ve been shown to be the final identifying sign in the last days. Sunday being the very sign of man elevating himself above God and his commandments.

      But now, suddenly I’m confronted with people saying my church (the Seventh-day Adventist Church) endorces Sunday worship! I’m confronted by people saying those who believe Saturday is the right day of worship are against the church!!??

      You ask “What did God say about Saturday and Sunday in the Bible”.

      Study the resurrection story. The Sabbath Christ rested in the Tomb on the 7th day, is the same as is commonly known as Saturday, and the day He rose was the first day. The 7th day was known in the pagan world as Saturn day and the 1st day as Sunday. Early Christian writers knew that connection.

      In one sense the “names” aren’t important, IF the world had called the 1st day of the week something else, it would still be the recognized and established 1st day of the week. But we KNOW they called the 1st day Sunday. It’s an historical fact. The battle within the early church between the 7th day and the 1st day, was between Saturday and Sunday, and so it has remained to our time. Sunday is the first day of the week. The venerable day of the Sun as Constintine called it.

      You speak of hemispheres. We need to ask ourselves some questions:
      Did God divide the world into hemispheres?
      Did God measure off longitude number this or that, and say at this longitude you shall adjust your day?
      Where in scripture is this to be found?

      Why shouldn’t Samoa and Tonga keep the same day count as Australia and New Zealand? They are on the same tectonic plate. There is a whole Pacific tectonic plate separating them from American lands. Why should they be on a different day count than their near neighbors?

      Did Samoa keep the wrong day these last 120 years? It was the rational and natural day for Seventh-day Adventists to keep,– the day before Sunday, and I’m sure God honored that. But how do you know that God isn’t moving to get these islands back on the right weekly count? (Just a question to think about)

      Leaders can make mistakes. Leaders can be deceived. I’m not judging anyone, leaders have a tough job that takes a lot of faith and prayer, and tough decisions, but I also know to blindly follow the leaders is not a good idea. Just read your old testament history.

      What to do?
      Pray. Stand for what you know to be right. Set a right example. Pray more and always that God gives the right spirit and words, and that his truth will prevail in Samoa.

    • Hello Brother Steve,
      I know that this issue of changing the day of the Sabbath to sunday due to the dateline is confusing for a lot of people, especially for those who recently came to know the truth about the Seventh Day Sabbath and began to worship on the day that GOD gave us to rest and fellowship with Him. GOD said ” REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY TO KEEP IT HOLY” which is the 4th Commandment written in the book of Exodus 20:8-11, and it’s the only Commandment that begins with the word “REMEMBER”. I guess GOD wrote it that way because He knew that some people would forget and with what’s going on, I think that now is the time for all of us as children of GOD to hold strong and remain ever Faithful to what GOD has commanded us to do regardless of what the government says. Yes the government gives themselves the right to change the day to whatever they wish it to be, these unordained officials take it upon themselves to rule as they see fit and however selfish their reasons are be it for commercial or economical, their lack of faith in trusting GOD to provide or supply all our needs, really makes you wonder who it is they worship. ( Read Daniel 7:25 )

      Ellen G. White may have recognized the dateline much like a lot of other people did, but that doesn’t mean she compromised GOD’s Sabbath day, you see unlike other religions, We as Seventh Day Adventist accept the BIBLE as our only creed and hold certain fundamental beliefs to be the teaching of the Holy Scriptures. These beliefs constitute our church’s understanding and expression of the teaching of Scripture and any changes can be made by The General Conference when they are led by The Holy Spirit to a further understanding of BIBLE TRUTH or finds a better language in which to express the teachings of GOD’s HOLY WORD. This is our fundamental belief as Seventh Day Adventist Christians with 28 Doctrines in place for us to study and share with all who are looking to understand what we as SDA Christians believe.

      You see brother Steve, the answers you seek are in GOD’s WORD ( THE BIBLE ). If you disagree with the pastors, take it to the Lord in prayer and The Holy Spirit will guide you in truth on how to express how you feel to the pastor the right way. GOD’s Word is the same today, tommorow and forever. You keep your faith strong in the Lord and I will pray for you as well and remember when GOD created the Heavens and the Earth and all that is in them, GOD rested on the Seventh Day! Nowhere does it say,” in the beginning GOD created the dateline! Man did! and you can be sure that there is no dateline in HEAVEN!!! KEEP THE FAITH USO!!!

      GOD BLESS,
      Always Your Brother In Christ,
      D. FONOTI

      • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and for trying to help people understand what is happening. You wrote:

        I know that this issue of changing the day of the Sabbath to sunday due to the dateline is confusing for a lot of people, especially for those who recently came to know the truth about the Seventh Day Sabbath…

        Personally, I do not find this confusing. Rather, I find it confused. I believe the matter is simple enough. The 7th day (i.e. Saturday) is the Sabbath of Jehovah. Had it not been for the mistaken Tonga precedent, I do not think there should have been any difficulty.

        Again, you wrote:

        Yes the government gives themselves the right to change the day to whatever they wish it to be, these unordained officials take it upon themselves to rule as they see fit and however selfish their reasons are be it for commercial or economical, their lack of faith in trusting GOD to provide or supply all our needs…

        Here is where I believe you are quite mistaken. Please read the first part of Romans 13 again. It was God who gave government the right to make such decisions, within the proper boundaries. That is, there are an easterly migrant and a westerly migrant reckoning of the weekly cycle, either of which traces back to Creation Week according to its own orientation. God has “ordained” government, not the church or its leaders, to make such secular kinds of decisions for the entire society. Any effect on our Sabbath observance is merely incidental.

        As I read the Scriptures, God has not called us to judge the motives of government. He has called us to obey. If we are humble Christians, I believe that we shall do just that, provided the government does not overstep its bounds and call upon us to actually violate God’s law.

        I believe it should be evident here that following the Asian week rather than the American week would not be a violation of God’s law. Unlike the early Adventist missionaries to the South Pacific, whose honest mistakes caused this whole problem in the first place, God is not an American! 😉

        May God bless you in understanding this matter, as you put your trust in Him, not in the arm of flesh.

  3. Steve,
    We are calling the leaders of the SDA Church to do what you say, “recognize the dateline,” because the dateline determines in which hemisphere your country reckons time. The government of a country decides that, not the church. The STM & SPD leadership have rejected the dateline change and are reckoning their time-keeping by the non-existent, pre-2012 dateline. This has put Seventh-day Adventists in a position of contempt of their nation’s legal system (dates and day names are legal entities) and made Seventh-day Adventists into Sunday-keepers (Sunday is not the seventh day in Samoa, Saturday is. Ask a government official). Do you believe the STM or SDA Church has that authority?

  4. John Wallace
    Thank you for responding to my comment and I am glad for that. I am not trying here to call the leaders of the SDA Church to do what I said because what I said is what the church is doing right now. I am a Tongan and what we are discussing now about Samoa was discussed in Tonga more than 100 years ago. Missionaries like Merritt Kellogg, E Hilliard and Edwin Butz dialogued on the subject with John Andrews (GC President) and Stephen Haskell (Avondale Lecturer) around the year 1900s.

    Early Missionaries (LMS – 1796 & Methodist – 1822) carried Eastern Hemisphere time (Asiatic days) as they traveled east beyond the 180 degrees median, ignoring the dateline. In Tonga, Samoa, Tahiti and Cook Islands, Saturday was mistakenly called “Sunday.” The dateline was approved in a meeting in Washington DC in 1884 to better organised world time.

    E G White recognized the International Dateline on what she wrote on “Signs of the Times” – January 1, 1892 “Between Samoa and Auckland we crossed the day-line, and for the first time in our lives we had a week of six days. Tuesday December 1, was dropped from our reckoning and we pass from Monday to Wednesday.” I believe God was leading to have E G White stopped over in Samoa on her way to Australia and also on her way back to USA because of today. She crossed the dateline twice and recorded it on her notebook. If anything was wrong with it, she would have had a vision than to correct it.

    Samoa (1892), Tahiti (1890?) and Cook Islands (1899) added a day to correct the mistake and bring their calendar into line with Western Hemisphere time (American days) where they are located. Tonga didn’t change for commercial reasons. Tonga is totally in the Western Hemisphere nevertheless follows Eastern Hemisphere time. That is why the Sabbath in Tonga is called Sunday (Eastern Hemisphere name). Samoa’s move in December 2011, dateline change, put them in the same situation with Tonga. The Sabbath in Samoa now is call Sunday (Eastern Hemisphere name). Remember that Samoa is in the Western Hemisphere like American Samoa.

    In the meeting in Washington DC in 1884 represented by about 27 countries, agreement to establish the prime median 0° at Greenwich in England and the 180° for day change half way around the world in the Pacific. The exception was to ensure that all islands of one country had the same day, the British Admiralty authorized the Dateline to deviate on the Pacific for the sake of Fiji, New Zealand, New Caledonia & Alaska. The reason for Samoa and Tonga to have Eastern Hemisphere days is for commercial reason.

    As there is no clear “Thus Saith the Lord” for the establishment of the dateline and the keeping of the Sabbath around the dateline, it is important to listen to the local Seventh-day Adventist community and its leadership, TPUC & SPD and the General Conference BRICOM committee. For the church to use the 180° median with the exception of the islands of one country to have the same day, the church will be consistent in its Sabbath keeping. Any change to the dateline will not affect the Sabbath

    I would like to ask you these questions: DID SAMOA KEEP THE WRONG SABBATH IN THE LAST 100+ YEARS? IS THE SEVENTH-DAY CYCLE STILL THE SAME FROM CREATION? SUNDAY IN SAMOA NOW, IS THAT THE SAME DAY OF THE SEVEN DAY CYCLE THAT THEY HAVE KEPT FOR THE LAST 100+ YEARS? WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THE PARLIAMENT OF SAMOA DECIDES NOW TO CHANGE BACK THE DATELINE TO WHERE IT WAS LAST YEAR?

    Thank You from your (SDA) brother in CHRIST

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *