(Source The Bible Echo, January 28, 1901. High-lighting added by Sabbath Issues editor.)
WE are living in times when not only many old errors are being revived and strenuously advocated, but when many new and strange theories are being advanced and seeking recognition. One of the latter is that Eden, or the place where Eden is supposed to have been located, marks the place at which the true day-line should be drawn, instead of the point in the Pacific where the streams of emigration have come together.
In the first place it may be noticed that the whole theory is based upon an assumption. Its advocates assume that the day-line must be where man was placed in the beginning, and where Christ lived when on the earth; but the Bible does not say so. They have to assume the very point that they try to establish and prove.
In the second place, the theory, if correct, and had it been carried out by a sinless race, would have caused confusion from the very beginning. It cannot therefore be of God, for God is not the author of confusion. The theory is that where Eden was, that marks the place of the true day-line. Every new day should begin there; westward from this point the reckoning should be twenty-four hours in advance of that immediately eastward. In other words, if one of Adam’s sons had taken up his home one mile west of Eden, and another taken his up one mile east, they would needed to have reckoned themselves as living in different days, though living only about two miles apart. While standing under the same shining sun, the one to the west would have called a certain day the first day of the week, while the one to the east would have called the self-same day the seventh! To be more specific, they could not have met together for worship and kept the same Sabbath, though living only two miles apart. One would have needed to have kept his Sabbath twenty-four hours before the other kept his!
As all can readily see, this would have created confusion, and made a most unhappy and unseemly division in the Adamic family. The place which above all others on earth should have been marked as a place for family reunions and harmony in seasons of worship, would have been the place of confusion and division.
Adam was to be the father and king of the whole human family. Eden was given to him as his permanent home. His descendants would naturally scatter and make homes for themselves in all directions from Eden. Adam being father and king, and Eden being his home, his descendants, had the race not fallen, would naturally have come to him, and thus to Eden, for Sabbath services, family reunions, etc. In order that there might be harmony and a united service, they would all, from which ever quarter they might have come, needed to bring the same day with them, and all reckoned days the same when they arrived there. But this would have been impossible had they considered Eden as the place of the day-line, and went out reckoning different days on different sides of Eden.
It would be the most natural thing in the world, for men, as they migrated from Eden, to take the Eden day with them, no matter which way they travelled. When, in the course of their emigrations, they met on the other side of the earth, they would, of course, find themselves twenty-four hours apart. But this would not matter, as that would not be the place for general meetings or Sabbath services. But of all places upon the earth, Eden, the birthplace of the race, should be the place of harmony of days and unity of reckoning. But the Eden day-line theory would make it the place of utmost confusion. On the very opposite side of the earth from Eden, therefore, at the point where the streams of emigration would meet, we would naturally conclude would be the natural and proper place for the day-line. And that is where Providence, nature, emigration, and common-sense have fixed it, in the broad waters of the Pacific.
Another argument greatly confirmatory of this position is the fact that this will be the very condition and arrangement of things in the new earth, when Eden is restored. The Edenic site will be a place of general meetings and harmony in reckoning of days. This is shown from the Bible. When Christ descends at the close of the millennium, His feet will touch the Mount of Olives, which will spread out and become a great plain, preparatory to the descent and final resting- place of the New Jerusalem. Zech. 14:4,8-9; Rev. 21:2. Zechariah 14:16 shows that this is the place where the people will assemble from time to time to worship God; and Isaiah 66:22-23 says that in the new earth all flesh shall come from one new moon to another, and from one Sabbath to another, to worship before the Lord. Those who come from the east will bring the same day with them as those who come from the west. All will keep the same Sabbath at Jerusalem, not two different days, as they would necessarily if that was the place to locate the true day-line. The day-line will be on the very opposite side of the earth from Eden and Jerusalem.
The Eden day-line theory, therefore, is as wide of the mark as it possibly can be. It has neither Bible, common-sense, nor historic facts to support it. It is only one more of the many other like modern delusions and winds of doctrines brought in to evade the cross of keeping the true seventh day Sabbath, to confuse the minds of the simple, and to nullify God’s message for this time. It bears no stamp of truth or divinity about it. It teaches that in all the countries east of Palestine over to the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the people are wrong in their reckoning of the days of the week; that they are one day ahead of time; that what they call Sunday is in reality the seventh day Sabbath, and that therefore the people in India, China, Siberia, the East Indies, Japan, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, and many of the islands of the Pacific should keep Sunday as the true seventh day! The people of all these countries constitute about one half the population of the globe. The Sabbath of the Lord, according to the Bible, is the seal of God; the false Sabbath is the mark of apostasy. If, however, what is called Sunday in these countries is the true Sabbath and seal of God, what, pray tell, is the mark of apostasy? Any doctrine which nullifies to half of the world the very pith and point of the last message God has for the entire world, cannot be of God. It deserves to be consigned to the silent shades of oblivion, as unworthy the serious consideration of any sane, thinking man.
by W. A. COLCORD.
Originally published in The Bible Echo, January 28, 1901 (PDF file). [Unfortunately WordPress will not accept a date earlier than 1902] See other issues of the Bible Echo and Signs of the Times in the Adventist Archives.
A secular and ironic account of the “David Nield’s Day-line Doctrine” may be found at New Zealand Papers Past site with the title, “New Zealand Prophet Mystifies Melbournians.” Apparently Davied Nield preached that the New Zealanders and Australians were keeping Sabbath on the right day (Sunday).