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Where Did We Get Our IDL? — 74 Comments

  1. Thank you, Ronald, for your research on this topic. I’ve done some reading of my own that confirms your findings that the “date line” (the place where one day changes to another) has never been along any particular meridian, not even the 180th, but has always been related to the people who lived in areas of the world affected by it.

    Since the local people have always chosen how to align themselves to the date line, it is perfectly legitimate for them to continue to do so. And that means that the independent nation of Samoa had every right to align itself to the west of the IDL. And that means that Saturday is just as much the seventh day of the week now as it was before the re-alignment.

    Using the 180th Meridian as the date line is, in effect, establishing a private date line for whatever organization chooses to do this. Relative to recent discussions on this site, it would seem that the South Pacific Division of Seventh-day Adventists appears to have chosen a private date line for the purpose of Sabbath keeping in certain Pacific Islands. That seems eerily similar to the promotion of the “Eden Day Line Theory” at the beginning of the twentieth Century. It also resulted in part of the world keeping Sunday as the seventh-day Sabbath. Our pioneers deemed this to be a “false issue” and Ellen White denounced this theory strongly.

    A private date line for Sabbath keeping purposes can be very convenient, of course. The North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists could simply decide that, for Sabbath-keeping purposes, the date line really belongs in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. After all, that’s likely where it was some time after the Flood, due to the migration patterns historians have determined. Just think, all of us in North and South America could then join Samoan Seventh-day Adventist in keeping Sunday as the seventh day! How convenient! No more “Sabbath problems.” No more having to tell potential employers that we cannot work from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. And no more being fired from well-paying jobs for refusing to work on Saturdays.

    But isn’t there something just a little wrong with a private date line for Sabbath-keeping purposes?

    • Dear Inge,

      I agree with you that there is something very wrong with choosing our own private day line, as it is tantamount to choosing our own “Sabbath,” like the Roman church has done. Have we, or our church leaders, any power at all to choose something special for ourselves, thus changing God’s times and law?

      Because our North American governments have chosen the westerly migrant week, I do not believe that the NAD is in such a “convenient” position as to seek to avail itself of the “Sunday option” by choosing a private day line. The church seems to find itself in that position largely in those societies where the easterly migrant week is officially followed. If I understand correctly, the scenario which you have suggested — saying the day line ought to be in the Atlantic — would actually result in Friday observance in the Americas. Perhaps this illustrates the reason why Satan seems always to be trying to persuade us to choose a private day line west of the actual day line (i.e. west of the IDL), but not so far west that we end up seeing it as east of the IDL instead! To get a Sunday “sabbath,” you might have used Australia as an example, along with the theoretical Armenian day line.

      This, of course, takes absolutely nothing away from your point. The Sabbath was made for man, not for anyone’s theory, not for anyone’s personal tastes or preferences, and not for the whims of any or all of our church leaders and administrators.

      Can governments affect our Sabbath observance at a “whim?” I believe not. When a government chooses to shift the day line, everything in the entire society is affected equally, just like the whole world moves together when it turns on its axis. Does “up” become down, at any point on the equator, after a 12-hour, 180-degree rotation of the earth? Neither can Sunday become the 7th day of the week, in a particular country, just because its government shifts the day line. Our mistake is the same either way: We are trying to make something “absolute” in a way in which it was never intended to be absolute.

      “God made His Sabbath for a round world.” (See “The Sabbath Made for a Round World.”)

      This means that God must have intended for us to have an occasional 6-day or 8-day week, under the right circumstances. When we travel across the day line, accepting such a one-off week, this is not a violation of the Sabbath commandment. Neither is it a violation to accept such a week when the day line is shifted by the legitimate authorities across the area where we live. If we try to force things, like the Pharisees or their successors might do, by mechanically counting seven days, and by attempting to make the 1st day (Sunday) into the 7th day, I believe that becomes a violation of God’s law.

      • Brother White,

        While the Sabbath was made for man, it was meant for man’s benefit and blessing by obedience to the divine command of God. The intention was not for man to please themselves on the Sabbath.
        Isaiah 58:13-14 NIV, “If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the Lord’s holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words, 14 then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

        You argue: “that God must have intended for us to have an occasional 6-day or 8-day week, under the right circumstances. When we travel across the day line, accepting such a one-off week, this is not a violation of the Sabbath commandment. Neither is it a violation to accept such a week when the day line is shifted by the legitimate authorities across the area where we live. If we try to force things, like the Pharisees or their successors might do, by mechanically counting seven days, and by attempting to make the 1st day (Sunday) into the 7th day, I believe that becomes a violation of God’s law.” This argument is based on human reasoning! You will not find a biblical support for this position. The Sabbath is not subject to our human experience or condition.

        God Himself provided a solution to the problem which we either fail to understand or refuse to accept! He simply commands we remember the “Sabbath” based upon his creative cycle of seven days a week and as the 7th day comes to us on this planet we keep Sabbath. No minuses or pluses as you infer above. We need to understand that God has the reigns of his Church under control. We need to trust Him. Blessings.

        • Dear L Manu,

          I am a frequent business traveller and over the past 25-years, I have crossed the IDL, from east to west (and vice versa), on numerous occasions. Whichever country I find myself, I always look for a Seventh-Day Adventist Church to worship God and to fellowship with our brethren on the 7th-Day Sabbath. Always without fail, according to the timezone and universal calendar, the name of this day is Saturday, never Sunday.

          Because there is an eastern and western hemisphere, there is always a 24-hour time difference with the former in advance of the later. We know this is a certainty as God’s Word tells us in Genesis 2:18-19, as the day consists of a ‘night and day’ or 24-hours. Therefore, if we consider the 7th-Day Sabbath just past, Saturday, 16 February, 2013, it is the same Sabbath rest for me here in Singapore (east of the IDL) as it is for American Samoa (west of the IDL), except it is 24-hours in-arrears.

          The 7-day count you refer is exactly the same for everyone whether located east or west of the IDL as is the observing of the universal calendar.

          Blessings ulalei

          • Thanks brother Ulalei,

            Your frequent visits around the world and worship with SDA believers confirm several things:

            (a) That most SDA around the world follow a universal calendar (Gregorian) consistent to the universal practice adopted by all nations of the world as proposed by the 180 degrees meridian (Conference of 1884).
            (b) Therefore, all the countries of the world that follow the above recommendations and abide by the hemispheres of the 180 degrees share without fail, according to their timezones, the universal calendar, and Sabbath always without doubt is “Saturday” and never “Sunday.”
            (c) No one will dispute the truth stated in (b) above. However, no one will also dispute that Samoa and Tonga, for example, do not fit into that category. Or do you? Because, Samoa decided in 1892 to follow the 1884 recommendations of the 180 degrees positioning but retracted in 2011.
            (d) Therefore in 2013 while Samoa is still using the Gregorian calendar like the rest of the world, it is clearly out of sync with the universal practice. Otherwise, it would not have needed to drop a day in 2011 to readjust. No one will deny this. Or do you?
            (e) Like the Samoa situation post 2011, Tonga is the only country in the world that has not followed the recommendations of 1884 and has not made any adjustment to its time reckoning in reference to the 180 degrees meridian. If Tonga had made corrections, they would be keeping “Saturday” like the rest of the islands and countries in the western hemisphere.
            (f) A point to stress though is all SDA’s in the western hemisphere keep the one “Sabbath” together on the same day even though for some islands the Sabbath falls on the day locally called “Sunday.” It is nevertheless the same “Sabbath” kept in America, Hawaii, and the rest of all islands situated in the same hemisphere.

            The above explanations show the consistency of SDA Sabbath practice worldwide. Biblical Sabbath keeping is not determined by what the day is called but rather by how it comes to us on its weekly cycle of 7 days each week. This rhythm does not change. Therefore, SDA’s in both American Samoa and Eastern (previously Western) Samoa keep “Sabbath” on the same day. Pre 2011 the “Sabbath” for both was called “Saturday.” Because both countries followed the 1884 divisions of the hemispheres and considered themselves situation in western hemisphere! Because in 2011 Eastern Samoa decided to switch IDL sides, it had to drop a day to reconcile its calendar to that of Eastern Time.

            What if:

            (a) Samoa choose to switch IDL and adopt eastern time but not drop a day from its calendar?
            (b) The result would be while Samoa will use the same Gregorian calendar the day count on that calendar would have remained that of countries in western hemisphere.
            (c) In that case, Sabbath for SDA’s would have still remained the day called “Saturday.”
            (d) However, Samoa did choose to drop a day from their calendar to realign with eastern time. Therefore, while the calendar now in use in Samoa is in line with that of eastern hemisphere, it has in the process of change affected the “Sabbath” rhythm for Seventh day Adventists.

            In any case, SDA’s do not keep Sabbath based upon the IDL change but rather upon the clear teachings of the Bible regarding Sabbath practice. And, for SDA’s the Sabbath will always be the 7th day of the week. We simply count the number of setting suns each day from 1-6 and begin “Sabbath.” Hence, for SDA’s in Samoa the final week of 2011 meant that when “Friday” was dropped from their calendar to readjust to Eastern Time reckoning, the “Saturday” that followed was simply Day 6 on their biblical day count. The Sabbath for them fell on Day 7 locally called “Sunday” after the IDL change. Blessings. LMO.

        • Actually, my entire line of reasoning was based on Bible and secular history, and the teachings of Jesus. When the Pharisees accused the disciples of Christ of breaking the Sabbath — saying they were working during the sacred hours, by plucking and winnowing the grain — Jesus interestingly did not deny that they were working. Rather, He justified their actions as a necessary exception to the Sabbath law. We see this in the illustration which Jesus chose. The Old Testament law made absolutely no provision for anyone but the priests to eat the show bread, and yet Jesus testifies that David and his men, who were not priests, were justified in doing just that — justified by the necessity of the case.

          In like manner, it is true, the Sabbath law makes no explicit provision for anyone to observe a one-off 6-day or 8-day week. Yet the necessity of a day line is beyond question, and there can be no doubt that some of us must cross it from time to time. Can you, or anyone else, seriously doubt the necessity of a personal 6-day or 8-day week in those instances? What confusion, what absurdities would be created if we were to rigidly count seven sunsets every time we crossed the IDL! I’ll warrant, brother Manu, that you yourself accept a long or short personal week every time you travel across the IDL, as Ellen White did on her way to Australia. So your “no minuses or pluses” statement is simply an absurdity, in the same vein as the thousands of burdens placed upon the Sabbath by the Pharisees.

          As for the necessity of also accepting a one-off long or short week when the IDL is properly shifted across the land where we find ourselves, I need only ask two questions:

          1) Is it absolutely necessary that we avoid the observance of the 1st day of the week (Sunday, the Mark of the Beast) as a sabbath?

          2) Is it necessary to our mission as a people to preach the 3rd angel’s message with clarity?

          The Sabbath was indeed made for the benefit of man, including every person in every country or society on earth. I fear that those who would persuade South Pacific Adventists to observe Sunday in certain island groups are the ones who, no matter how well-intentioned, are manipulating the Sabbath to please themselves!

    • Hi Inge,

      While it is true that independent nations, such as Samoa or Tonga, have the right to change their IDL positioning, that has nothing to do with God’s day of rest. The “Sabbath” for that matter is not subject to the IDL or to our cultural expectations! Only God who owns the “Sabbath” has the right to dictate which day it is. And, according to God, the “Sabbath” is the 7th day of the week (Gen. 2:1,2). We simply need to maintain our daily count and worship on the 7th day as it comes.

      Your arguments re the 180 degrees meridian is contrary to the understanding of EGW. If you go back to her visit to Samoa pre 1892, EGW recording her travel time with respect to the 180 degrees and not negate it as you imply. She, however, had rejected all the other theories, such as the Eden line, Jerusalem or Israel line, and other teachings proposed by SDA’s at the time.

      This forum appears to put blame on STM, TPU, and SPD for the current Sabbath practice in Samoa. What people have failed to realize is that, SDA’s in Samoa today continue to worship on the same “Sabbath” day they had always worshiped God in Samoa for over a 100 years now. This consistency is evident in SDA worship throughout the pacific region. SDA’s have not compromised their Sabbath keeping by bowing to government regulations which in 2011 resulted in Samoa “skipping” a day on their calendar in order for them to adopt time together with countries in the eastern hemisphere. While some on this forum think it is permissible for SDA’s to skip a day in order to readjust, the Bible does not provide for such actions. If we truly believe in Scripture as we so ardently claim, than we need to: (a) Have a solid biblical base for our arguments, (2) Trust God as He continues to lead the work in the pacific, (3) Not criticize the work of God and the Church and by doing so inadvertently cause harm to His cause, and (4) support the 7th day Sabbath now in Samoa. That day of rest and worship has always been and consistently remains the 7th day, now called “Sunday” due to the IDL change. Blessings.

      • Dear L Manu,

        It is good to note that you agree with the legitimate right for governments to govern and such is the case for the Samoa IDL positional changes made by the respective governments of their day, on Monday, 4 July, 1892 and Thursday, 29 December, 2011. However, there is no dispute in regard to God’s 7th-Day Sabbath, as God’s Word is clear about when He created it, Genesis 1:1-3 and as we read in Matthew 28:1 and Mark 15:42, where in the 1-7-day week cycle, the 7th-Day Sabbath is located; after Preparation Day and before the 1st-day of the week. The names of these days according to the universal calendar are, Friday and Sunday.

        We also know that Samoa prior to Monday, 4 July, 1892, was positioned west of the IDL and their time-keeping was 24-hours in-advance of those countries located east of the IDL. After the change, Samoa continued to follow the universal calendar, but 24-hours in-arrears because it was now keeping time in the western hemisphere.

        It is important to note that the 7th-Day Sabbath prior to Monday, 4 July, 1892, was Saturday, 2 July, 1892 and after the 1-time 8-day week adjustment, (Monday, 4 July, was repeated), the 7th-Day Sabbath was Saturday, 9 July, 1892. So, we are total agreement with the Samoa Seventh-Day Adventists being consistent worshiping on the 7th-Day Sabbath according to the universal calendar and irrespective of being either west or east of the IDL, on Saturday.

        For anyone to make an arbitrary decision and claim that the 1st-day of the week observing the universal calendar is the 7th-Day Sabbath is contrary to God’s Word. The 7th-Day of the week representing God’s Sabbath-Day and accordingly to Genesis 2:1-3, was this past week, Saturday, 16 February, not as you claim is to be, today, Sunday, 17 February, 2013.

        Blessings, ulalei

        • Brother Ulalei,

          Serious thinking Seventh day Adventists will know that the argument that the Sabbath must always be the day called “Saturday” is not a biblical teaching. While the argument holds true for most parts of the world, it is not true in the case of Samoa and Tonga. It was true for Samoa pre 2011 but when Samoa dropped a day in their calendar to readjust to eastern hemisphere time that contradicted the clear teachings you cite of Gen. 2:1-3. The argument of a universal calendar being in use in Samoa will only be correct if Samoa and Tonga are following the same universal principles understood by the rest of the world regarding the 180 degrees meridian. In this case, both Samoa and Tonga have taken the exception to alter their IDL positioning. Therefore, they are both at odds to universal time. Your comparison then is not applicable in this case.

          It appears that your arguments place all emphasis on the IDL changes in 1892 and 2011. If we were to forget about the IDL, what Sabbath would we keep? The IDL is really a non-issue. The question is what really is the “Sabbath” God instructs us to keep in Gen. 2:1-3 and to “remember” in Ex. 20. You must remember that the Adventist message did not arrive to Samoa until 1895. So, the argument regarding the 1892 changes to the IDL makes no sense.

          On the other hand, if we say you are correct, it raises several serious issues:

          (a) The keeping of the “Sabbath” then is determined by the IDL. Therefore, when the IDL changes we change the keeping of “Sabbath” either by adding a day, as done in 1892 or by subtracting a day, as done in 2011.
          (b) In that case, the Sabbath than becomes relative to our preferences as human beings or subject to government laws and regulations.
          (c) This contradicts the clear teachings of the Bible.

          Seventh day Adventist believe the contrary regarding Sabbath keeping. We believe that:

          (a) The Sabbath always falls on the 7th day of the week irrespective of IDL changes or government regulations and laws.
          (b) The “Sabbath” is not ours as human beings to do at will or changes.
          (c) The “Sabbath” is not relative to our human experience or conditions but rather comes to us on a weekly rhythm of 7 days (Gen. 2:1-3).

          The fact that Samoa has changed the IDL in 1892 and 2011 shows that the IDL is an unreliable basis for Sabbath practice. Who says the IDL in Samoa will not change again in the future? The fact it has changed twice historically indicates it has potential to change again in the future. Therefore, if SDAs base their Sabbath keeping on this changeable IDL, it shows we really do not understand the teachings of Scripture regarding the Sabbath rooted in a 7 day Week. On the other hand, what message will we be portraying to the world regarding Sabbath keeping if our practice keeps changing with the IDL? Seventh day Adventists know much better. The Sabbath is constant and does not change. The same 7th day Sabbath kept holy over the past 100 years in Samoa will always remain the “Sabbath” unto Yahweh irrespective of IDL changes by local governments. We can trust God and His Word regarding Sabbath practice. Blessings. LMO.

  2. I may be missing something here, so please pardon my oversimplified view on this topic. It seems it would make most sense to observe the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath day of scripture wherever you happen to be.

    I realize that human manipulation of the IDL may have created situations that can lead to endless debate and consternation among those that like to discuss intricate details on countless technicalities. I cannot, however, imagine a scenario where God questions the faith of a believer because they didn’t fully research whether they should really be worshiping on the first day or sixth day of the week because of some silly IDL.

    It’s not so much a matter of adapting one’s belief system to the specifications of a secular system, so much as it is basically just keeping things simple. “When in Rome” if you will. If today is the seventh day of the week, then today is God’s Sabbath. Simple.

    • Dear Casey,

      I totally agree with your sentiments, and whilst you will probably have someone say, “Oh, the issue is far more complex than you give credit!” in fact what you state about “when in Rome,” is exactly the point. We all, whether Adventists or not, follow the same universal calendar so that it doesn’t matter whether we are living on either side of the IDL. It remains constant and the seventh-day Sabbath is the same. Therefore this week, irrespective of the time zone, the seventh-day Sabbath will be Saturday, 15th December wherever the place is we are living or find ourselves in our travel.

      Yes, and as you say, it really is as simple as this!

      God’s rich blessing this new week!

      Ulalei

      • What I find most amazing about this whole issue is just how perfect a trap Satan has set. Back in 1892 the IDL was moved and the days shifted in Samoa. In 2011 the IDL was moved back to its original position, over 100 years after it was originally tampered with. If the proponents of Sunday observance are to be taken at their word they are actually clinging to a false tradition, since the “Sabbath” they refuse to turn away from was Sunday prior to 1892, and is once again Sunday as it should have always been. The true Seventh-day Sabbath according to a pre 1892 calendar would have been Friday up until 2011 when the IDL shift moved the calendar back to its original state with the seventh day Sabbath once again falling on the Calendar Saturday.

        So we now have a scenario where Satan has convinced Bible believing Christians that Sunday is the Sabbath because for over a hundred years there has been a tradition in Samoa to call what was previously the calendar day Sunday the seventh day of the week.

        I fully understand the intentions of those who refuse to accept what they view as a secular attack on the Sabbath by the shifting of the IDL in 2011. What I cannot understand is how they’ve missed the fact that what happened in 2011 actually fixed what was done in 1892.

        There is a truth that I have always found to be helpful at times like these. God’s directions are straightforward and can easily be understood by even the simplest of minds. Satan’s deceptions are so filled with murky grayness that even the elect can be led astray in attempting to understand and manipulate them.

        God says “rest with Me on the seventh day.” Satan says “but which day truly is the seventh?”

        • Dear Casey,

          I certainly agree that Satan has stolen a march on the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and it may help to understand how that happened.

          The problem is not that the Samoa government shifted the International Date Line a couple of times. This kind of shift has taken place in quite a number of places, including the Philippines in 1844 and Alaska in 1867, yet that did not cause a problem in our Sabbath observance. That’s because the effect of an IDL shift is essentially the same as when an individual crosses the date line in his or her travels. The necessary adjustment just isn’t that difficult to make.

          Where the problem actually began was in Tonga in the 1890s, in spite of the fact that Tonga has never made an IDL shift. Through some combination of popular misconceptions, a confusing situation, the strictest Sunday laws, and maybe other possible factors as well — it’s hard to say exactly what — our pioneer Adventist missionaries to Tonga elected to use the American week for Sabbath observance, when Tonga was actually on the Asian week, and always had been. In effect, those Adventist missionaries started our Tonga congregations off with Sunday observance. That this was an error, I believe should be obvious enough to us by now.

          Anyway, the Adventist Sunday observance in Tonga set the precedent for using the 180-degree meridian as a private day line for Adventists, rather than respecting the universally accepted IDL. Then, as more and more countries east of the 180-degree meridian have returned to the Asian week, our church administrators have switched more and more countries of Adventist congregations over to Sunday keeping, rather than correct the original error in Tonga.

          Samoa is but the latest of these countries. Thankfully, Samoan Adventism has a strong minority of Saturday Sabbath keepers, able to bring the problem to the attention of the world church. I believe that God is using them to correct a long-standing Sunday-keeping tradition among Seventh-day Adventists in the islands.

          • Blessings White. The problem, as I see it is not the IDL shift in Samoa, but rather our lack of faith in God on the issue of Sabbath keeping. The problem did not begin in Tonga as you point out. If Sabbath keeping in Tonga was wrong EGW would have corrected it. People seem to forget that EGW was heading the work in the pacific when the SDA mission began both in Tonga and Samoa. EGW was in Australia from 1891-1900 and at the forefront of work in Australia. She was aware of the Tonga situation but did not bother about Sabbath keeping there. Here silence on the Tonga Sabbath situation is an indication that it was for her a non issue. Blessings.

          • Brother White,

            You argue that: “Samoa is but the latest of these countries. Thankfully, Samoan Adventism has a strong minority of Saturday Sabbath keepers, able to bring the problem to the attention of the world church. I believe that God is using them to correct a long-standing Sunday-keeping tradition among Seventh-day Adventists in the islands.”

            This is undoubtedly a perception. On the contrary, the actions of the “minority of Saturday Sabbath keepers” in Samoa underscores several significant things:
            (a) That there are gross misunderstandings regarding what is the “7th day Sabbath.”
            (b) That keeping “Saturday” post IDL change of 2011 is incompatible to the teachings of the SDA Church.
            (c) That there is a desperate need for continuing dialogue to help people understand why SDAs in Samoa now keep the day locally called “Sunday” as the 7th day Sabbath.

            As Adventists we cannot portray disunity by divisiveness or by teaching a doctrine contrary to the clear Word of God regarding Sabbath practice. We need to pull together and remain united as the “body of Christ,” the “Church.” This is not the time to divide or to begin a new movement or organization of our own. To do so, is treason against God who is the “author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2 KJV). Blessings.

        • Hi Casey,

          Thanks for your comments. You argue: “I fully understand the intentions of those who refuse to accept what they view as a secular attack on the Sabbath by the shifting of the IDL in 2011. What I cannot understand is how they’ve missed the fact that what happened in 2011 actually fixed what was done in 1892.” This conviction is based on the assumption that the change in 1892 had fixed the Samoa IDL position back then. This assumption is not true as pointed previously by others on the forum. The action taken in 1892 only acknowledged Samoa’s true positioning geographically in the pacific which meant that it was located in the Western hemisphere together with America.

          It is important to note that all the pacific islands in the Western hemisphere have consistently worship on the one 7th day “Sabbath” together with America. This consistency has taken place in SDA life and practice for more than 100 years, even though, in some countries the “Sabbath” was called “Saturday” and in others the day was called “Sunday.” Nevertheless, all of the islands in the pacific in the Western hemisphere together with America and Hawaii worship on the one and same “Sabbath” consistently.

          To insist a change post 2011 of Sabbath practice simply because the day now in Samoa is called “Saturday” is a very superficial argument. The Bible does not instruct us to keep any other day from the 7th day of the week. What seems to be an anomaly when Adventist in Tonga or Samoa worship on what is now “Sunday” of eastern time reckoning is in fact in accordance to the clear teachings of the Bible. Sadly, many have misunderstood the doctrine of the “Sabbath” and made it out to be based solely on the day called “Saturday.” This is not a biblical teaching. Blessings as you continue to search.

          • Dear L Manu,

            According to the Wikipedia, I quote as follows:

            “The Samoan Islands—today divided into Samoa and American Samoa—were west of the date line until 1892, when King Malietoa Laupepa was persuaded by American traders to adopt the American date, being three hours behind California, to replace the former Asian date, being four hours ahead of Japan. The change was made by repeating Monday 4 July 1892, American Independence Day.

            In 2011, more than 119 years after that change was made, Samoa shifted back to west of the date line by skipping Friday 30 December 2011… The International Date Line now passes between Samoa and American Samoa, with American Samoa remaining aligned with the American date.

            Samoa made the change because Australia and New Zealand have become its biggest trading partners,… Being 21 hours behind made business difficult because having weekends on different days meant only four days of the week were shared workdays”.

            Therefore, your assertion that prior to King Laupepa Malietoa decision in 1892 to position Samoa from west to the east of the IDL, its true geographical position was the western hemisphere, is clearly incorrect. Samoa original geographical position relative to the IDL was the eastern hemisphere, after the 1st change on Monday, 4 July, 1892, it was the western hemisphere until the 2nd change on Thursday, 29 December, 2011, when it returned to its original geographical position prior to Monday, 4 July 1892, the eastern hemisphere.

            What is important to note, Samoa continued to observe the universal calendar despite the hemisphere changes and maintained the 7th-Day Sabbath worship on Saturday, 2 July, 1892, (prior to the change) and Saturday, 9 July, 1892, (immediately after the change). This was made possible by accepting a 1-time 8-day week by repeating Monday, 4 July, 1892. Furthermore, Samoa made the 2nd change on Thursday, 29 December, 2011, from the western to eastern hemisphere, to Saturday, 31 December, 2011, by accepting a 1-time 6-day week.

            According to the universal calendar, which Samoa observes along with the majority of the Seventh-Day Adventist global community, the 7th-Day Sabbath prior to Thursday, 29 December, 2011, was Saturday, 24 December, 2011. The 7th-Day Sabbath after the change was Saturday, 31 December, 2011, not Sunday, 1 January, 2012.

            Blessings, ulalei

      • Greetings Ulalei. The arguments re a universal calendar will only be correct if all countries were following the universally recognized 180 degree meridian. This is not the case in Samoa and Tonga. And, it appears that the whole calendar argument fails to recognize that Samoa in 2011 had to drop a day of the final week of that year in order to readjust to eastern time reckoning! We need to trust God that He was not caught unaware in the Samoa situation. To imply that Sabbath keeping in Samoa for the past 100 years was wrong and we need to readjust because the IDL has changed is to suggest that God made a mistake in Samoa. I firmly believe the contrary. God does not make mistakes. It is either, we have failed to understand the issues, or have misunderstood the work of God in the pacific region. Regards.

        • Dear L Manu,

          I cannot speak to the situation in Tonga but in the case of Samoa, as far I am aware, they continue to follow the universal calendar they did prior to and after the December 2011 IDL positional change, that the rest of the world also observes. Therefore, the Seventh-Day Adventists global community accepts that the 7th-Day Sabbath today is Saturday, 16 February, not as you advocate in Samoa case, as Sunday, 17 February.

          To accept the principles of the universal calendar in either the eastern or western hemisphere requires an adjustment to the 24-hour time difference depending in which hemisphere one is located. Therefore, in December 2011, Samoa time-keeping advanced 24-hours from when the IDL was positioned east of the IDL, thereby going from keeping the universal calendar in the western hemisphere, which was Thursday, 29 December, 2011, to keeping it in the eastern hemisphere which was Saturday, 31 December, 2011. In doing so, the universal calendar remained constant, and showed it was the 7th-Day Sabbath, irrespective of whether one was located in the eastern or western hemisphere.

          Samoa prior to and after the first IDL positional change on Monday, 4 July, 1892, followed the universal calendar, as it did prior to and after the 2nd IDL positional change on Thursday, 29 December, 2011. In doing so, the Seventh-Day Adventists continue to worship God on the 7th-Day Sabbath, as per the universal calendar, and they correctly did so according to the time-keeping of the respective hemisphere, whether 24-hours in arrears or in-advance at that point in time.

          Samoa did not misunderstand the time-keeping and acknowledged the 24-hour time difference between the eastern and western hemisphere. They simply adjusted to the western hemisphere time-keeping by accepting a 1-time 8-day week and to return to eastern hemisphere time-keeping in December 2011, by accepting a 1-time 6-day week. But importantly, in doing so, they continued to follow the principle of the universal calendar. Therefore, whether one is located today in either the eastern or western hemisphere, the 7th-Day Sabbath according to the universal calendar, is Saturday, 16, February, 2013. Therefore in Samoa, today is the 7th-Day Sabbath, the same as it is for the Seventh-Day Adventist Global Community, not as you advocate, Sunday, 17 February, 2013.

          Blessings. Ulalei

          • Thanks Ulalei,

            While you argue the consistency of the universal calendar. The facts testify to the contrary. In order for the calendar in Samoa in 2012 and beyond to realign with the calendar of eastern time it had to drop a day from the calendar of Dec. 2011. This fact is beyond dispute.

            The problem than arises that while this is a legitimate action taken by the Samoa government, it is not one that the Bible allows for Sabbath practice. The Bible does not support a six day week in order for “Sabbath” to fall on the day called “Saturday.” Every sincere thinking Adventist will at least acknowledge this truth.

            Therefore, the real question would be: Does God allow for a six day week? I contend that God does not. You will have to show Bible evidence to support a six day week. Blessings.

          • Hi brother Ulalei,

            The debate regarding Samoa’s legitimate positioning in the pacific can go on forever! The fact is, if you look at the world map and the 180 degrees meridian as adopted by the nations of the world in 1884, it is clear that Samoa falls in the western hemisphere together with Tonga and other islands of the pacific. Pre 1892 Samoa was using time together with the east as they now do post 2011. Historical sources say King Malietoa Laupepa made this change to correct the mistake and to realign Samoa with world standards. This is common knowledge so I do not need to cite those sources again.

            What is problematic is when we try to argue Sabbath practice based upon the IDL. Seventh day Adventist do not use the IDL as the basis for Sabbath keeping. Our basis for Sabbath keeping is the Bible. SDA recognise the relevance of the 1884 recommendations which was universally adopted by all nations for the division of hemispheres at the 180 degrees meridian. However, “Sabbath” practice is not determined by a changing IDL.

            Otherwise, every time the IDL changes we will need to readjust our Sabbath keeping by “accepting a 1-time 8-day week as Samoa did by repeating Monday, 4 July, 1892” if Samoa chooses to switch back to western time. Or “by accepting a 1-time 6-day week” when it chooses to return back again to eastern time reckoning as it did in 2011. As, good as this may sound, the Bible does not allow for a 1-time 8-day week or 1-time 6-day week adjustment.

            SDAs in Samoa know much better. For them Sabbath comes as a consistent week rhythm on the 7th day. That rhythm does not change even when governments choose to change the IDL because for SDA’s the “Sabbath” belongs to God who does not change. Blessings. LMO.

    • Dear Casey,

      Thanks for your perspective. Thankfully, as I see it, God has been kind enough to keep the matter quite simple. Thus, you are able to take a quick look at the subject, and I can delve into the details from every angle I please, and yet we both arrive at the same conclusion.

      God bless!

      • You need to read Andrews paper in the Review and Herald, March 7, 1871, on where the day begins to see why we decided to keep Sabbath on Sunday in Tonga. He argues that the Sabbath is every 7th day, and God reveals in nature that the day begins at the 180 line in the middle of the Pacific. You may not be any more convinced by his arguments than I am, but it does show that it wasn’t an imposition of American time on the Pacific Islands that brought about this situation. At that time the IDL was to the east of most Pacific Islands. As Andrews was at the time our leading theologian, I suspect everyone followed his lead, and thanked God that he had once again revealed to his church something hidden from others.

        • Thanks Kevin. There were many theories on the day line promoted during the time of EGW. John N. Andrews had suggested a Bering Strait’s Line in the pacific. Stephen Haskell proposed the keeping of both Saturday and Sunday. George Tenny recommended keeping Sabbath together with the nearest continent, which meant Australia for the pacific region. Others suggested the Eden day line heresy (see, Arthur L. White, “Dateline in Australia: Ellen G. White Estate – Questions and Answer File: 31.0.47” May 13, 1965: http://drc.whiteestate.org/files/3767.pdf (accessed January 25, 2013). Some insisted on a doctrine of the “earthly-Utopia” promoted by post-millennialism. The Millerites at first labelled the heresy “Judaizing” and “Judaism.” These terms were later applied to Literalist premillennialists who “insisted that the Old Testament Messianic prophecies were to be fulfilled literally and in detail in the millennial kingdom, especially to literal Israel and Judah in the flesh” (see J. Neuffer , “The Gathering of Israel: A Historical Study of Early Writings pp. 74-76.” Retrieved from Biblical Research Institute: http://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org). This emphasis is a form of Zionism and some have insisted that the line should begin in Israel or Jerusalem.

          It is interesting to underscore that EGW in Early Writings, pp. 74-76, warned about the dangers of this heresy and focus on literal Israel. Furthermore, most of the above theories prevalent during the time of EGW has resurfaced in one way of another and used as arguments to be followed in the Samoa IDL situation. History is undoubtedly the theater room of God in Action. If we do not learn from history we will repeat the same mistakes made by those in our early history. It is critical to underscore that EGW rejected all of these theories. Her emphasis has always been on the keeping of the 7th day Sabbath rooted in God’s creative work (Gen 1-2). We can trust God and His leading in the SDA Church in the pacific. Humility in our study of the IDL issues is the key to understanding how God has led the work in the pacific. EGW says, we have nothing to fear about the future if we took the time to see how God has led His work in the past (paraphrase). Blessings.

        • Thank you, Kevin, for pointing out evidence that indicates why the early missionaries to Tonga may have opted for Sunday observance, regarding it the “true seventh day” for Sabbath observance. It demonstrates that the choice was made in good faith.

          And thank you, Limoni, for demonstrating the confusion that prevailed in those early days regarding the date line. As you no doubt know, Ellen White emphatically rejected the Eden Day Line teaching principally on the grounds that it would result in most of the population of Asia keeping Sunday as the Sabbath, and such a thing “could not be.”

          Since the confusion over the date line is long past and Tonga has remained securely within the Asian hemisphere for time-keeping purposes, I wonder if she would not say the same thing about Tonga now, that such a thing “could not be” – that Sunday should be kept as the seventh-day Sabbath.

        • Dear Kevin et al,

          I have read Bro. Andrews’ article in the Review and Herald of March 7, 1871 from beginning to end, (see “The Seventh Day on the Round World.”) as well as his earlier article of February 14, 1871. (See ”The Definite Seventh Day.”) Here are a few observations:

          1) It is true that Bro. Andrews made a few statements which would be hard to support in the light of our present knowledge of the subject. In particular, his idea that the keeping of Asian time in Alaska was “a manifest error,” just because it meant a day line which had been following the course of a land border, rather than remaining in the Pacific – and his statement concerning Pitcairn, based on its longitude – may have set the unfortunate precedent of giving our own tastes and opinions priority over an entire society’s legitimate choice in regard to the day line. I can see Inge’s point here, as to what might have led to such a big mistake being made in good faith by our missionaries in Tonga.

          Nevertheless, I believe that Bro. Andrews’ main argument is sound. He was arguing against the theoretical Eden Day Line by saying that God’s providence has resulted in an actual day line in the Pacific, and that we should respect this actual line.

          2) While, in the course of arguing for the Pacific day line, Bro. Andrews wrote some words that may have appeared to be supporting the idea of a 180-degree meridian day line, this does not seem to be what he was really saying.

          3) It seems clear that Bro. Andrews was promoting respect for the actual Pacific day line — known today as the International Date line — and not any kind of theoretical 180-degree meridian day line. This is evidenced by the following words which he wrote:

          The meridian of 180 degrees east or west from the observatory of Greenwich, England, has only an accidental connection with the fact that the day line actually exists in the Pacific Ocean. Is is true that the meridian is but a few degrees to the west of Behring’s Straits (sic). But the fact that day on the west coast of the Pacific is twenty-four hours in advance of day on its east coast, is wholly independent of any attempt to reckon longitude by geographers or astronomers.

          If the fact that the actual day line is in the Pacific is totally independent of the Greenwich prime meridian — and of the meridian 180 degrees east or west of it — then it follows that the exact course of the actual (IDL) day line is also independent of, and unrelated to, the meridians. I find it interesting that this article was published some 13 years prior to the Washington Meridian Conference, which Conference of course had no direct effect on the existing day/date line.

          It seems clear that Bro. J. N. Andrews’ main point was that there is a definite Sabbath. Today, I believe that we can best uphold this essential teaching by respecting the International Date Line, where providence has placed it, and by observing the Sabbath accordingly.

  3. Dear Ulalei,

    I would like to respond to your comments on 17th February 2013.

    I gave in my previous comments the historical record from Samoa about the Royal Proclamation from the Municipal Council of Apia and Malietoa’s Government, the change of 1892 was to correct an error of reckoning of the days. Remember that WIKIPEDIA is not a reliable source; anyone can access and change that around to be in harmony with what they believe.

    The true position for Samoa is the Western Hemisphere, that’s why King Malietoa changed the dateline in 1892 to CORRECT an error that started by Missionaries to the Pacific in the 1700s & 1800s.

    You states that “Samoa made the change because Australia and New Zealand have become its biggest trading partners,… Being 21 hours behind made business difficult because having weekends on different days meant only four days of the week were shared workdays”.

    IF WE CHANGE THE SABBATH IN SAMOA TO MAKE BUSINESS BETTER THAN IT IS NOT A VALID REASON. We are just showing that the PARLIAMENT OF SAMOA has the AUTHORITY TO CHANGE THE 7TH DAY SABBATH OF GOD from one day (24 hours) to another.

    I know all your arguments about the Sabbath and the universal calendar. I am keeping Saturday here in Australia, where I live, as my Sabbath. The issue that we dialogue about is about the few islands that are close to the 180 degrees (UNIVERSAL MERIDIAN). They have the freedom to change from the left to the right of the 180 meridian. ARE WE GOING TO CHANGE OUR SABBATH IN THESE COUNTRIES EVERY TIME THEY DECIDED TO MOVE THE IDL?

    God Bless…brother Steve

  4. To my Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

    I would like to ask for someone to explain to me the Historical Record in the paragraph below please:

    “When the Seventh Day Adventists commence to labor among the Pitcairn islanders, they were impressed with the fact that the latter always worshipped on Saturday. They thought that this was PROVIDENTIAL, and made a great deal of. Mr Turner was probably the first to solve the mystery. He found that the mutineers, when they were en route for the island, went by the eastern route, and therefore gained a day. They have neglected to note this, and therefore, when first discovered, were observing SATURDAY as SUNDAY. Now that they are all devout Seventh Day Adventist, they observe Saturday just the same.” The Star (Saint Peter Port, England), Tuesday, May 08, 1894; Issue 55. [Editor's Note: This document was accessed through a membership in the Australian National Library.]

    God Bless…Brother Steve

    • Thank you for this fascinating observation, Steve! Although I had read the Pitcairn story when I was quite young and have revisited it since, I had not noticed that little detail before.

      It turns out to be not such a “little” detail. The fact that the mutineer offspring did not have to change their day of worship made it easy to convert to Adventism — perhaps a little too easy, when one follows what happened subsequently on Pitcairn.

      Unfortunately the moniker of “eastern” and “western” can be confusing in relating to the IDL. When we cross the date line from east to west, we seem to skip a day, because Monday east of the dateline is already Tuesday on the other side. (That’s what happened in Samoa in Dec. 2011.) When we cross from west to east, we seem to have to live the same day twice — because Tuesday on the west side is still Monday on the eastern side of the IDL. ;)

      The confusion arises because crossing the date line from east to west causes us to arrive in the eastern “hemisphere.” Crossing the date line from west to east, causes us to arrive in the western “hemisphere.” (The word hemisphere is a bit of a misnomer, because the world is not really divided neatly into two half spheres.)

      It so happens that the Wikipedia article on the Mutiny of the Bounty includes a map that allows us to see that the Bounty came from Asia to arrive at Pitcairn. Since Pitcairn is considerably east of Hawaii, someone apparently decided that the island should be included in a time zone to the east of the date line, that is in the Western Hemisphere.

      The sailors on the Bounty of course kept a log of days on their journey coming from the East. And if they crossed any sort of date line, they would be out of sync with the local time by one day. What they counted as Sunday would be counted as Saturday to the east of the date line. And that’s what that excerpt is referring to.

      Here’s an interesting map of the pre-2011 date line in the South Pacific, and it shows the location of Pitcairn relative to Hawaii. (Note that Pitcairn lies east of 135 W) Yest, except for American influence, all those islands could reasonably be included in the eastern hemisphere (i.e. west of the date line) because history indicates that most of the islands were settled by way of Asia.

      Also see the Pitcairn Island Mystery. Note that the article references the fact that most of the islands were originally on Asian time.

    • I remember those old mission stories.
      One of those stories was about Pitcairn Island.
      It was told that these mutineers were fighting and drinking etc, till only one man was left with several women and children.
      John Adams turned to the Bible and tried to govern according to its principles.
      We were told that he discovered the Sabbath in scriptures and began to keep the seventh day Sabbath.
      When Adventists came to the Island, we were told, it was easy to bring them all into the Adventist church, for they already believed so much of what Adventists believe.

      MISSING from the story was any mention of a dateline.

      For me, it was very disappointing to find out those stories were NOT CORRECT. That they were claiming something that just wasn’t true. The people on Pitcairn were not keeping the seventh-day Sabbath, they were keeping Sunday. They had not discovered the 7th day Sabbath in scripture and made any choice to keep that Sabbath, but were worshipping on the traditional Sunday.

      In their minds and understanding Sunday was the blessed day. They, like most other early immigrants to the S.Pacific Islands, were following eastern time, not western.

      True, after the Adventist mission was established, they became Adventist, the time change was made and they did worship on Saturday.

    • Gladly, brother Steve. Here are a few observations in regard to this record:

      1) The Seventh-day Adventists who first worked with the Pitcairn islanders were evidently labouring under the popular misconception that an international agreement or consensus had placed the day line at or around the 180-degree meridian. At the very least, they made an unfortunate assumption, based on the geographical location of Pitcairn, that the island must have been on the American week.

      2) Pitcairn had been settled from the direction of Asia, and so they were observing the Asian week. The arriving Adventists were unaware of this fact at first, and wrongly thinking that Pitcairn would be on the American week, mistook Sunday for Saturday. Thus they were puzzled to understand why the islanders were keeping the Saturday Sabbath. However, while some were investigating the matter, it seems that others must have been eagerly sending reports, back to their home churches, of how a group of people, with only the Bible to teach them, had been discovered keeping the true 7th-day Sabbath! As a matter of fact, they were not keeping the true Sabbath. They were keeping Sunday.

      3) Once the Adventists learned what had happened, this did not remove the delusion under which they were labouring in regard to the day line — or perhaps it was easier to become doctrinaire about the day line than to correct their early reports. So they made a big deal, among themselves, out of the supposed “Providence” which had led the Pitcairn islanders to accidentally keep the true Sabbath, although this detail seemed to have gotten lost somewhere, as far as the story that I had always heard. Even this, of course, was false. God wants our intentional worship. He has no interest in tricking anyone into keeping His 7th-day Sabbath, when their real intent is to keep Sunday.

      4) Although the Adventist missionaries were mistaken concerning both God and the day line, they were able to prevail with their ideas. The Pitcairn islanders were undoubtedly so impressed with the Bible truths of Adventism that they wished to please their visitors. They were apparently willing to adopt the true 7th-day Sabbath, and they must have found that doing so by changing their reckoning of the weekly cycle, thus effecting a day line shift, was the method best calculated to please.

      So this is part of the story behind all of those quotations that seem to reveal so much day line dogmatism among our early South Pacific missionaries!

  5. To my Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

    Thank you for your comments on the paragraph that I gave about Pitcairn Island, I will add more quotes to that one. It was interesting to read all your comments but I ask you to read these quotes and let them speak for themselves; remember that these are Historical Records not PROPHECY for interpretation.

    “The Church service is performed in the school-house. The islanders are what the descendants of British sailors ought to be, – strictly of the CHURCH of ENGLAND.” PITCAIRN’S ISLAND, Lyttelton Times, Volume II, Issue 94, 23 October 1852, Page 8.
    http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=LT18521023.2.13

    “This island is memorable as the refuge of the “Bounty” mutineers. As we have but three tanks and a half of water left, one of which is undrinkable, we shall take the opportunity of filling up…They objected to bring off water on a SUNDAY…” PITCAIRN’S ISLAND, Lyttelton Times, Volume II, Issue 89, 18 September 1852, Page 8.
    http://www.digitalnz.org/records/1941585?search%5Btext%5D=pitcairn%27s+island+1852

    “They seemed a most religious set of people. They had just been to CHURCH (it was SUNDAY), and spoke with great pride and delight of the organ so generously sent them by the Queen some time ago.” TIMARU HERALD, Volume XXXIX, Issue 2756, 24 July 1883, Page 3.
    http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=THD18830724.2.23

    “The Pitcairn Islanders have hitherto steadily maintained in its simplest form the worship of the CHURCH of ENGLAND, and the earnest steadfastness of their religious belief has always been worthy of high admiration. It will be a matter of regret, therefore, to many who are interested in the little community to hear that within the last year or two their principles have undergone a revolution, and that they have enrolled themselves among the Seventh-day Adventists – a sect originating in the United States.” PITCAIRN ISLAND, Otago Witness, Issue 1892, 15 May 1890, Page 36.
    http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=OW18900515.2.129.7

    “When the Seventh Day Adventists commence to labor among the Pitcairn islanders, they were impressed with the fact that the latter always worshipped on Saturday. They thought that this was PROVIDENTIAL, and made a great deal of. Mr Turner was probably the first to solve the mystery. He found that the mutineers, when they were en route for the island, went by the eastern route, and therefore gained a day. They have neglected to note this, and therefore, when first discovered, were observing SATURDAY as SUNDAY. Now that they are all devout Seventh Day Adventist, they observe Saturday just the same.” The Star (Saint Peter Port, England), Tuesday, May 08, 1894; Issue 55. [Editor's Note: This document was accessed through a membership in the Australian National Library.]

    I would like to ask you to read the above paragraph twice and answer these two questions. What day did they keep as their Sabbath while they were still in the Church of England? When they became SDAs, did they change their Sabbath?

    God Bless…Brother Steve

    • Thank you, Steve, for gathering this pertinent information for us.

      To answer your question, it seems quite clear that, as adherents of the Church of England, the Pitcairn Islanders kept Sunday as their day of worship, because they counted their days by the calendar from where they came — which is only natural. That is to say that they were reckoning time as being west of the date line, because they came from the direction of Asia.

      When the Seventh-day Adventist missionaries arrived at Pitcairn from the direction of the Americas, they mistakenly believed that the Pitcairn Islanders were keeping the seventh-day Sabbath, even though they were actually keeping Sunday. They thought this “providential” in that they didn’t have to ask them to change their day of worship!

      When the date line was officially drawn west of Pitcairn, island time moved to the end of the day’s journey (from Asian time to American time), rather than the beginning — which had the effect of setting them back a day.

      If they had formerly actually kept the seventh-day Sabbath, they would have had a one-off 8-day week. But since they had been keeping Sunday, keeping the seven-day cycle from the other side of the date line put their worship day on Saturday. Presto! Instant Seventh-day Adventists! (I’m being a bit facetious here, since there is more to being Seventh-day Adventists than changing one’s day of worship.)

      Also see “The Pitcairn Island Mystery” and the Wikipedia entry on Pitcairn Island religion. Might there be some connection between the “instant Seventh-day Adventist” converts and the loss of real adherence to the faith?

      It is evident that Pitcairn changed to the American calendar east of the date line, but they could count out seven days till their next day of worship and end up on the Saturday Sabbath. It seems doubtful that they understood the full significance of the change, seeing that people nowadays seem unable to grasp the meaning of a date line change. Currently Pitcairn Islanders are operating on the standard world calendar, and a few people still worship on Saturday.

      Our pioneers apparently saw some things that the current proponents of Sunday worship in Samoa have failed to see, as written by T. Whittle in the Signs of the Times, November 26, 1906:

      Upon a candid examination from a. scripture standpoint, it will be found that the whole question is a subtle device of the enemy to impede the progress of the great message for these times, namely, the Sabbath reform. In this enquiry, when the most is made of the question, it will be seen that, under an apparent stickling for a conscientious exactness as to the true day, the enemy cleverly changes the issue of the question involved in the last message, from being one of worship and loyalty to God, or obedience to and worship of the church of Rome, under the symbol of the beast and his image, to that of a merely technical question of exactness, involving no principle of choice between two rival powers, and totally eliminating the Romish element, and of conflict with the beast and his image, which is the very essence of the prophetic warning. It completely changes the purport, scope, and nature of the last movement of the closing reform from a grand principle, and narrows it down to a technical quibble under the guise of a conscientious scruple for the honour of God.

      Note that Pr Whittle points out that the real issue of the Sabbath is “one of worship and loyalty to God, or obedience to and worship of the church of Rome.” An “apparent stickling for a conscientious exactness as to the true day” confuses the issue to the point that those who are apparent sticklers for exactness end up giving homage to the church of Rome by keeping its day on Sunday, rather than loyalty to God by keeping His Sabbath, which is Saturday, the seventh day of the week anywhere on the planet.

      There is truly nothing new under the sun, is there? But why can we not learn from our pioneers? Why do we have keep going round this same bush in the same wilderness?

  6. Thank you, Inge for responding to my comments and the Historical quotes that was given.

    You are right that the Pitcairn Islanders while they were still in the Church of England were keeping Sunday as their day of worship.

    When the Seventh-day Adventist missionaries arrived at Pitcairn, they found out that the people were keeping the 7th day Sabbath but mistakenly called it Sunday, an error of reckoning of the days.

    All Pitcairn Islanders were converted to the SDA Church around 1890 – 1891.

    Their reckonings of days were corrected in 1889-1890 and they continued on keeping the same day as their 7th day Sabbath but now called Saturday (they did not change to another day).

    Inge, I am not using Wikipedia for my comments because it is not reliable and anyone can change it around to what they believe.

    I can see how Pr Whittle points out that the issue about the Sabbath is “one of worship and loyalty to God, or obedience to and worship of the Church of Rome.”

    To me the real issue is KEEPING THE 7TH DAY SABBATH OF GOD holy.

    God Bless…Steve

  7. To my brothers and sisters in Christ,

    I would like to ask someone to explain to me what does it mean by the phrase “UNIVERSAL PRIME MERIDIAN” that appeared many many times in the historical records in 1884?

    “The Prime Meridian Conference held at Washington has pronounced in favour of Greenwich as the universal prime meridian.” South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA : 1881 – 1889), Saturday 6 December 1884, page 5.

    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/printArticlePdf/93317659/3?print=n

    “The Prime Meridian Conference at Washington today adopted the Greenwich line as the Universal Prime Meridian.” Aberdeen Weekly Journal (Aberdeen, Scotland), Tuesday, October 14, 1884; Issue 9259

    “The International Conference which was convened in Washington for the purpose of adopting a Universal Prime Meridian has paid England the very great honour of selecting for this purpose the Meridian of Greenwich.” The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), Wednesday, October 15, 1884; Issue 14515

    “The Prime Meridian Conference in Washington has decided in favour of a Universal day, it is to be a mean solar day, commencing at mean midnight of the Universal Meridian, counted from zero up to twenty-four hours.” The Leeds Mercury (Leeds, England), Wednesday, October 22, 1884; Issue 14521

    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/printArticlePdf/43809627/3?print=n

    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/printArticlePdf/93317659/3?print=n

    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/printArticlePdf/66612721/5?print=n

    http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/printArticlePdf/11344573/3?print=n

    These are just the few that everyone can access through the internet. Most of what I need to present, you can only access it though a membership in the National Library of Australia. They all provide the information about the UNIVERSAL PRIME MERIDIAN in Greenwich – 0 degree & Pacific 180 degrees.

    People who are close to the UNIVERSAL PRIME MERIDIAN – 180 degrees in the Pacific can shift the INTERNATIONAL DATELINE around to satisfy their needs in BUSINESS and other selfish reasons. IDL is not a reliable point of reference for our Sabbath keeping; it can change from time to time as we have seen through the historical records. When this happens we will change our Sabbath from one day to another.

    I believe that GOD was behind the decision that was made in 1884 for the UNIVERSAL PRIME MERIDIAN and for a UNIVERSAL DAY. WHY?

    1. God did not give us any information about a day line in the Bible.

    2. He (GOD) changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning (Daniel 2:21). God put England at this time with their power and knowledge to put the UNIVERSAL PRIME MERIDIAN in order.

    God Bless…brother Steve

    • Dear Brother Steve,

      You have posed the question as to what is meant by the term “Universal Prime Meridian.” I believe the answer is quite simple and straightforward. Perhaps it could be illustrated by a somewhat related example.

      When an incident or event is reported in the news, people are interested in knowing exactly when it happened. Were it not for the existence of time zones and standard time, the exact local time of the occurrence of an incident — even if properly determined — would provide only limited information to a reader elsewhere on the globe. It would be well-nigh impossible to relate this information to time as kept in the reader’s particular location.

      However, with our system of time zones, accurate information can easily be conveyed. If, for instance, something happened in Japan on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 10:15 a.m., a reader in Pago Pago could see that and know that the event took place on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 2:15 p.m., Pago Pago time.

      I say this illustration is only partially related because, although our time zone system is dependent on a universal prime meridian, it goes beyond it. In fact, the 1884 Meridian Conference explicitly rejected the suggestion that they recommend the use of standard time, as being outside the purpose of the Conference.

      In similar fashion to the above illustration, if something were to happen to a ship at sea, people may wish to know exactly where on the globe the ship was sailing at the time. A single line of longitude, defined as a universal prime meridian, in combination with a system of meridians and the counting of degrees east and/or west of that prime meridian, will allow such precise information to be immediately conveyed.

      This system of meridians and the counting of longitude, and nothing more, is what was recommended by the 1884 Meridian Conference, and it has been universally adopted by the nations of the world. As a result, the world has a uniform way to designate global positions, as well as a uniform basis for the use of time zones.

      None of the above has anything to do with the day/date line, which existed prior to the 1884 Meridian Conference, and which was not directly affected by it. To imply, as you have been doing, that a universal prime meridian implies a particular location for the day line, is incorrect, and is based only on popular misconceptions.

      The term “Universal Prime Meridian” means an agreed-upon longitude from which to measure all longitudes around the world, and to use for a Universal Time Co-ordinate (UTC). It has nothing to do with any day line or date line, except that the British (and others) have found it convenient to use the anti-meridian from Greenwich as a nautical day line, seeing the land-based day line happened to be not very far away.

      The subject of the land-based day/date line did not even come up for discussion at the 1884 Conference, as it would obviously have been far outside of their purpose for meeting.

      As noted in a recent comment, even J. N. Andrews stated that it was merely accidental that the day line (now called the IDL) and the 180-degree meridian both happen to be in the Pacific.

      God bless!

  8. To my brothers & sisters in Christ,

    Please read this historical record from 1884 (Washington Meridian Conference)

    FINAL ACT
    The President of the United States of America, in pursuance of a special provision of Congress, having extended to the Governments of all nations in diplomatic relations with his own, an invitation to send Delegates to meet Delegates from the United States in the city of Washington on the first of October, 1884, for the purpose of discussing, and, if possible, FIXING UPON A MERIDIAN proper to be employed as a COMMON ZERO of longitude and STANDARD OF TIME-RECKONING throughout the whole WORLD, this International Meridian Conference assembled at the time and place designated; and, after careful and patient discussion, has PASSED THE FOLLOWING resolutions:

    I.
    “That it is the opinion of this Congress that it is desirable to adopt a single PRIME MERIDIAN FOR ALL NATIONS, in place of the multiplicity of initial meridians which now exist.”

    This resolution was UNANIMOUSLY adopted.

    II.
    “That the Conference proposes to the Governments here represented the ADOPTION of the MERIDIAN passing through the centre of the transit instrument at the Observatory of GREENWICH as the initial meridian for longitude.”

    The above resolution was adopted by the following vote:[Pg 200]
    In the AFFIRMATIVE: Austria-Hungary, Mexico, Chili, Netherlands, Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Russia, Germany, Salvador, Great Britain, Spain, Guatemala, Sweden, Hawaii, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, Japan, United States, Liberia, Venezuela.
    In the NEGATIVE: San Domingo.
    ABSTAINING from voting: Brazil, France.
    AYES, 22; noes, 1; abstaining, 2.

    III.
    “That from this meridian longitude shall be counted in TWO DIRECTIONS up to 180 DEGREES, EAST longitude being plus and WEST longitude minus.”

    This resolution was adopted by the following vote:
    In the AFFIRMATIVE: Chili, Liberia, Colombia, Mexico, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Great Britain, Russia, Guatemala, Salvador, Hawaii, United States, Japan, Venezuela.
    In the NEGATIVE: Italy, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, [Pg 201]
    ABSTAINING from voting: Austria-Hungary, Germany, Brazil, San Domingo, France, Turkey.
    AYES, 14; noes, 5; abstaining, 6.

    IV.
    “That the Conference proposes the adoption of a UNIVERSAL DAY for all purposes for which it may be found convenient, and which shall not interfere with the use of local or other standard time where desirable.”

    This resolution was adopted by the following vote:
    In the AFFIRMATIVE: Austria-Hungary, Mexico, Brazil, Netherlands, Chili, Paraguay, Colombia, Russia, Costa Rica, Salvador, France, Spain, Great Britain, Sweden, Guatemala, Switzerland, Hawaii, Turkey, Italy, United States, Japan, Venezuela. Liberia,
    ABSTAINING from voting: Germany, San Domingo.
    AYES, 23; abstaining, 2.

    V.
    “That this UNIVERSAL DAY is to be a mean solar day; is to begin for all the world at the moment of MEAN MIDNIGHT of the initial meridian, coinciding with the beginning of the civil day and date of that meridian; and is to be counted from ZERO up to TWENTY-FOUR hours.”[Pg 202]

    This resolution was adopted by the following vote:
    In the AFFIRMATIVE: Brazil, Liberia, Chili, Mexico, Colombia, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Russia, Great Britain, Turkey, Guatemala, United States, Hawaii, Venezuela. Japan,
    In the NEGATIVE: Austria-Hungary, Spain.
    ABSTAINING from voting: France, San Domingo, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, Netherlands,
    AYES, 15; noes, 2; abstaining, 7.

    VI.
    “That the Conference expresses the hope that as soon as may be practicable the astronomical and NAUTICAL days will be arranged everywhere to begin at MEAN MIDNIGHT.”

    This resolution was CARRIED without division.

    VII.
    “That the Conference expresses the hope that the technical studies designed to regulate and extend the application of the decimal system to the division of angular space and of time shall be resumed, so as to permit the extension of this application to all cases in which it presents real advantages.”[Pg 203]

    The motion was adopted by the following vote:
    In the affirmative: Austria-Hungary, Mexico, Brazil, Netherlands, Chili, Paraguay, Colombia, Russia, Costa Rica, San Domingo, France, Spain, Great Britain, Turkey, Hawaii, United States, Italy, Venezuela, Japan,
    Abstaining from voting: Germany, Sweden, Guatemala,
    Ayes, 21; abstaining, 3.

    Done at Washington, the 22d of October, 1884.

    C. R. P. RODGERS, President. R. Strachey, J. Janssen, L. Cruls, Secretaries.

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/17759/17759-h/17759-h.htm

    Brother Steve

    • That’s good, brother, but it is even better to read the entire proceedings. In particular, that will help one to correctly understand the meaning of the “Universal Day.” This is a reference to what we know today as UTC (formerly GMT), and nothing more. It has nothing to do with any day line or IDL. This becomes clear, when one reads the entire context.

      It also becomes clear that the purpose of the prime meridian is for global positioning and as a reference for time keeping (UTC), nothing more.

      Furthermore, we see that there were only 27 participating countries, leaving out most countries of the world — among which non-participating countries were Tonga and Samoa — and that the Conference had no binding authority even over those 27 participating governments.

      Most importantly, we see that the (already existing) day line was not even discussed, nor can any language concerning an “International Date Line” be found anywhere in the proceedings. Even the possibility of recommending the use of standard time was rejected as being outside the purpose of the Conference. Obviously, the land-based day line was so far outside the purpose that the matter was never even raised.

      “1884 Meridian Conference Proceedings.”

      • Brother White,

        Brother, what is TIME and where to you count your time from? 180 degrees meridian OR IDL?

        If you like the rest of the WORLD counting their TIME from 180 degrees meridian (Midnight) after 24 hours from this, what do you call that?

        If 24 hours is ONE DAY, do you think that 180 degrees meridian has nothing to do with time & days?

        The UNIVERSAL prime meridian is 0 degree in Greenwich (this is land not sea) & the beginning of the DAY in 180 degrees meridian (start from mid-night). This is followed by “ALL NATIONS, KINDREDS, AND PEOPLE, AND TONGUES.”

        I follow God’s time from SUNSET to SUNSET.

        God Bless…brother Steve

        • Dear Brother Steve,

          When you ask about time, and how it is counted, do you mean actual time or standard time?

          The actual time of day, at any given longitude, is determined by where the sun is, either in the sky or on the other side of the earth, in relation to that particular longitude at any given moment. As such, the actual time has nothing to do with any meridian or meridians, and it has nothing to do with the day line (the IDL).

          Standard time, on the other hand, is a convention which, depending on how well the time zone is set up, and whether or not daylight saving time is in effect, may more or less approximate the actual time in a given place. All the world has agreed to make their standard time a multiple of one hour (or, in some cases, half an hour) different than the actual time at the Greenwich observatory. Thus, although the time zones may or may not be closely based on the meridians, standard time relates directly only to the prime meridian (at zero degrees longitude) — not to any other meridians — and it (again) has nothing to do with the day line (IDL).

          The IDL, as a graphic representation of the collective decisions of the world’s civil authorities, determines what day it is at any given place at any given time. Of course, the moment when one day changes to the next, at any particular place, is also determined by whether one is using a sunset-to-sunset or midnight-to-midnight day, actual or standard time, the set-up of the time zone, and/or whether or not daylight saving time is in effect.

          For Sabbath observance, of course, we always use a sunset-to-sunset day. Accordingly, only the day line (IDL) affects the question of what day it is in any given time and place. The meridians are not a factor in determining the day for Sabbath observance, as should be obvious from the fact that the Sabbath predates the meridians by many thousands of years.

          Other than the prime meridian running through Greenwich, the meridians — including the 180-degree anti-meridian — have no effect on either time or days, except that they might influence standard time indirectly to the extent that they are used in setting up time zones.

          So the answer is that the 180-degree anti-meridian has no direct effect on either time or day, unless one is at sea in a ship, outside the territorial waters of any country. In that case it becomes the day line (IDL).

          I hope that this will clarify things a bit.

          • TIME ZONES AND UNIVERSAL TIME

            This is an explanation of TIME by NASA.

            “Time can be measured in a number of ways. For instance, we can measure the passage of time via the orbital motion of Earth and other planets in the solar system (Dynamical Time). Or we can measure time based on the rotation of Earth on its axis with respect to the stars (Universal Time). Finally, we can measure time through the oscillations of atoms (International Atomic Time).”

            “Universal Time or UT is the precise measure of time used as the basis for all civil time-keeping. Although their exact definitions differ, most readers can assume that UNIVERSAL TIME is equivalent to GREENWICH MEAN TIME or GMT. UNIVERSAL TIME is actually based on the mean sidereal time as measured in GREENWICH, England. It’s also approximately equal to mean solar time from Greenwich.”

            “Like most other astronomical calculations, eclipse predictions are usually presented in terms of Universal Time. In order to convert eclipse predictions from UT to local time, you need to know what time zone you are in.”

            http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEhelp/TimeZone.html

            Local and “Zonal” Times

            “In the mid-1800s the use of locally measured and defined time on Earth was gradually supplanted by the use of time zones in order to facilitate standardization of railroad schedules and, to a lesser extent, of recording scientific observations. This process culminated in 1884 in an international conference which created the global system of time zones and specified the longitude of GREENWICH as the PRIME MERIDIAN. Each zone is approximately 15° wide, the exact width and shape being subject to political boundaries and significant geographic features, and within each clocks are referenced to the same hour.”

            http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/mars24/help/notes.html

            God Bless…Steve

          • Dear Brother Steve,

            Thank you for the interesting information from NASA concerning the keeping of time. I am happy to see their confirmation that “universal time” is the same thing as GMT, or UTC as we know it today. This tends to confirm what I have said about the “universal day,” as the term was used at the 1884 Meridian Conference, being a kind of universal time day, or UTC day, a point of reference for global time keeping.

            I note NASA’s statement that the 1884 Conference “created the global system of time zones.” As the proceedings themselves show, the Conference actually recommended only the system of meridians, which would in turn furnish a convenient reference for the creation of time zones. They explicitly declined to recommend the use of standard time, with its need for time zones.

            While NASA is into space travel, we as Sabbath keepers are particularly concerned with time only in relation to where we may happen to be on the surface of the globe.

            Have you noticed that determining the time of day, on the one hand, and deciding which day it is, on the other, are really two separate matters? Also, because we observe the Sabbath from sunset to sunset, it makes no difference to us how the time of day is determined — unless we are north of the Arctic circle and must impute a “sunset” on the basis of records (in which case we may need to determine actual noon or midnight for our location).

            Thus, time keeping becomes irrelevant to Sabbath keeping, and all that matter are determining what day it is, and when the sun goes down, where we are. Therefore, the resolutions of the Meridian Conference also become irrelevant, seeing they had nothing to do with the day line or IDL.

            God bless!

  9. Thank you, Steve, for providing this very interesting summary of the 1884 Washington Meridian Conference.

    From the summary it is clear that the conference was intended to establish two things:

    1) One universal “Prime Meridian” instead of the several competing “prime meridians” used before this time. This made possible the use of one “universal day.”

    2) That the day should be counted from midnight, rather than sunset, 6 o’clock, or whatever other means were used before. Again, this made possible the use of one precise “universal day.”

    The conference explicitly did not address where the date line should be drawn. A de facto date line had existed long before this conference, as demonstrated in the main article above.

    The conference explicitly made no ruling on local time, which includes the date line:

    … shall not interfere with the use of local or other standard time where desirable.”

    I believe that the full document makes this point even more clearly.

    I also find it interesting that even the representatives from the 27 countries did not agree on every resolution, with only the first being voted unanimously and one resolution getting only 14 positive votes. Nevertheless, it is apparent that these resolutions were eventually adopted world-wide. This was truly a historic meeting!

    It appears to me that Adventists in the South Pacific Islands who insist that Sunday is not really the first day of the week, but is really the seventh day, are at odds with the goal of the conference, which was to establish one “universal day.” They are, in effect, establishing their own “day.” which is at variance with the universal day, by keeping the Sabbath one day later than the world-wide Seventh-day Adventist church, which keeps Saturday as the Sabbath. (For instance, universally, Seventh-day Adventists will keep the next Sabbath on Saturday, March 9, while most Adventists in Tonga and Samoa will keep Sabbath one day later on Sunday, March 10.)

  10. Dear Steve,

    To pick up on the point of the ‘universal day’, I would like to know what ‘measure’ do you use to determine what day of the week it is and the corresponding date? As Adventists, we accept the 1-7-day (creation) week cycle, but I am interested to know, how we today, should determine what the name of day is and also, the year and date?

    Do you think this ‘measure’ is applicable universally or is it variable determined by each country?

    God’s rich blessings, this Sapati Eve. Ulalei

    • To Ulalei,

      Thank you for your comment, great to hear from you. You only need to read all my previous comments with humble heart and open mind to answer your question.

      God Bless…Steve

      • Dear Steve,

        I do not believe you have addressed my question through your many postings on the subject in the past. Hence, my request for you to share what ‘measure’ you use today, to determine and identify, how as Adventists, we know what the names of the 1-7-day are, in order to worship God on the 7th-Day Sabbath?

        It is possible I may have missed your previous posting or I may have misunderstood what you wrote on the subject of how/you measure the 1-7-day week and I would appreciate it, if you could explain it again.

        Thank you and God Bless, ulalei

        • Dear Ulalei,

          I have addressed your question many many times before. If you think that I have not addressed it than there is something wrong somewhere. May be I did not do a good job in explaining it OR may be you are selective with what you read.

          I have checked the forum and all those information are still there.

          God Bless…Steve

    • Dear Ulalei,

      Just a point of clarification:

      In our discussions here, when we speak of a “universal day,” I believe we are referring to the day as it begins at either sunset or midnight at the day line (the IDL), which lasts for 24 hours in any given location, and which finally ends more or less 49 hours later, again at the IDL. Thus, the “universal day,” as we speak of it, has everything to do with the day line (IDL).

      As I read the proceedings and resolutions of the 1884 Meridian Conference, on the other hand, they appear to be using the term “universal day” to mean something entirely different. This is a day which begins at midnight in Greenwich, on the “initial meridian” from which all longitude is counted, and ends 24 hours later. Its sole purpose is to act as a point of reference (UTC) for all the world’s time keeping. We might call it the “Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) day,” and it has nothing to do with any day line or IDL.

      This is an important distinction, as I see it, because it underlines the fact that the matter of the day line (or International Date Line) was not even discussed at the 1884 Conference, much less acted upon.

      God bless!

  11. To my brothers and sisters in Christ,

    There is a problem of keeping the Sabbath in the Arctic Regions (North & South Poles). WHY? The observance of the Sabbath according to the sunset reckoning in the Arctic regions becomes practically impossible during part of the summer, when the sun never sets below the horizon, and during part of the winter, when the sun never rises above the horizon. HOW THEY SOLVED THIS PROBLEM? By using their WATCHES, some keep the Sabbath from 6pm on Friday to 6pm on Saturday. This is USING THE UNIVERSAL PRIME MERIDIAN of Greenwich.

    There is a problem in keeping the Sabbath in the Pacific by countries who are close to the IDL. WHY? The Sabbath has been changing from one day (24 hours) to another day (24 hours) by islands in the Pacific for Business & Selfish Reasons (when they shift the IDL). HOW THEY SOLVED THIS PROBLEM? By USING THE UNIVERSAL PRIME MERIDIAN of Greenwich like those in the North & South Poles.

    God Bless…Steve

    • In response to brother Steve’s comment, I must say that a solution to a problem is one thing, but a correct solution is quite another.

      While the Arctic situation is off the topic of this discussion thread, it is certainly pertinent to the matter of Sabbath issues. So let’s picture living north of the Arctic Circle, and moving closer and closer to the summer equinox. The daylight portion of each day gets longer and longer, while the sunset time moves closer and closer to actual midnight. Then, one Friday (or — horrors! — a Saturday!), records show that the sun will not actually dip below the horizon at all. So, all of a sudden, we begin (or end?) our “Sabbath” at 6:00 p.m.? And what kind of time reckoning are we using — standard time, which unnecessarily depends on all kinds of human decisions concerning a prime meridian, a time zone, and the possible use of daylight saving time?

      Then, in later summer, as soon as a Friday arrives where the sun is expected to momentarily dip below the horizon, our “sunset” suddenly jumps back from 6:00 p.m., standard time, to actual midnight? That strikes me as absurd in the extreme. If the sunset moves closer and closer to actual midnight until it ceases, then commences again at actual midnight and gradually moves away from it, of course we should have been using a calculated actual midnight, for our imputed sunset time, during the period when the sun never set!

      Reverse this story, for winter, and we’ll naturally be using the records to calculate an actual noon for our imputed sunset when the sun fails to rise. Any Canadian, for instance, should be able to picture this quite easily, as we well know that sunsets can come early in December, and earlier the farther north we go.

      Similarly, we had been observing the Sabbath in Samoa in accordance with the generally accepted day line (the IDL) for nearly 120 years, rightly ignoring the fact that there had been an IDL shift in 1892, just before the Adventist work in that island group had been established. Now, in 2011, another IDL shift takes place, but only this time we are not willing to accept it? So, in rigid legalistic fashion we decide to make a problem out of this, and we suddenly jump to our own private day line, believing it to be the proper one in accordance with popular misconception? I’m sorry, but this also strikes me as absurd in the extreme.

      Just how does this solve the “problem,” anyway? In order to avoid allowing one human decision (a proper and legitimate one, at least) shifting the IDL to affect our Sabbath observance, we instead base our “Sabbath” keeping on another (irrelevant) human decision concerning the prime meridian, and a third (imaginary!) human decision to make the 180-degree anti-meridian into a day line (IDL). Wow!

      Now, I don’t believe for one minute that our church administrators are really such rigid legalists. Rather, they had a bad precedent to follow, from Tonga, and chose to follow policy. But how do you get the rank and file to go along with such a decision? Unfortunately, in this case, it seems you teach rigid legalism, and create problems where they don’t really exist.

      May God have mercy on us all!

      • Brother White,

        This is your first sentence in your last comment:
        “In response to brother Steve’s comment, I must say that a solution to a problem is one thing, but a correct solution is quite another.”

        Brother, what is the CORRECT solution for keeping of the Sabbath in the North & South Poles? We cannot keep the Sabbath there according to the the correct Biblical records from sunset to sunset.

        It appears to me, by reading your comments, that you did not read all the historical records that I gave pre-1892, post-1892 & 2011. Brother, please read both sides of the arguments.

        If we do not use the universal prime meridian for reckoning of time, what else we will use in this round world? It appears to me that you have all the answers for this, please outline these all for us.

        Brother in your outline, please don’t write an essay but give us point 1, point 2, point 3 etc…

        God Bless…Steve

        • Dear Brother Steve,

          As for the correct method of observing the Sabbath inside the Arctic Circle, I believe that both Ulicia and I have explained the matter fairly well. The meridians and standard time don’t matter. What counts is where the sun is, even on those days when it remains either above or below the horizon. When the sun is the closest to the horizon (from above or below), according to the records, that’s when we impute a sunset.

          I may not have read every single comment ever posted on this board, brother, but I do believe that I have read all of the historical records which you have shared here, and that I am familiar with the arguments on both sides. If there is a key to the differences between your view and mine, it may well lie in the fact that I do not accept tradition as an authority on truth, whether it be worldly tradition or church tradition. If the facts do not support current belief and practice, then in my view the belief and practice need to be changed.

          You asked:

          If we do not use the universal prime meridian for reckoning of time, what else we will use in this round world?

          I understand that you are referring to the reckoning of the days here, as time keeping per se is irrelevant to a sunset-to-sunset Sabbath.

          I believe it is a misunderstanding of the purpose of the Prime Meridian that causes people to think that the 180-degree anti-meridian is some sort of day line. The universal prime meridian, with the other meridians derived from it, were never intended to supplant the authority of each affected country and its representative civil authorities to determine the reckoning of the days within its own sovereign territory.

          The International Date Line is the only day line, real or proposed, which respects this God-given authority.

          God bless,
          R. G.

          • Brother White,

            Thank you for your explanation BUT the only BIBLICAL way of keeping the SABBATH is from SUNSET to SUNSET or from EVENING to EVENING. There is no CLOSE to the HORIZON in the BIBLE, that’s what I mean.

            Brother, no matter what you say or believe about the UNIVERSAL PRIME MERIDIAN, everyone follow that today for reckoning of time PM & AM. IDL follow that as well, with the exceptions that we discussed before. The UNIVERSAL PRIME MERIDIAN is followed by “ALL NATIONS, TONGUES, TRIBES AND PEOPLE.”

            Brother I will say this to you again. The IDL is not a reliable line to use for Sabbath keeping. WHY? Because countries close to it are able to shift it for Business Reasons (not Religious) like Samoa. WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? We will change the Sabbath from one day to another every time it will happen.

            I and my church (SDA) use the UNIVERSAL PRIME MERIDIAN for keeping of our Sabbath (but we keep it from Sunset to Sunset). WHY? Because no countries who are close to it can shift it for Business Reasons like Samoa. WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? There is NO problem because the Sabbath will never change from one day to another.

            God Bless…Brother Steve

          • Dear Steve,

            You ask, “What’s the problem?”

            And I say this is the problem: By essentially establishing a private date line, Adventists in a number of countries are keeping as Sabbath a day which is universally recognized as the first day of the week – a day to which the Roman Catholic church claims to have transferred the sanctity of the Sabbath. It is a mark of the authority and power of Rome.

            It is, of course, your privilege to keep the “Sabbath” established by Rome’s authority, and it is a particularly convenient thing for Adventists to do in Tonga where first-day “Sabbath” laws are so stringent. But it is surely a strange thing to do for anyone who claims the name of Seventh-day Adventist. In fact, an Adventist who keeps the Sunday established by Roman authority is a First-day Adventist, not a Seventh-day Adventist. I understand we even have a very few real Seventh-day Adventists in Tonga. Praise the Lord!

  12. Not sure how calculating sunset time in the Arctic needs any special help from the Prime Meridian.

    Most Seventh-day Adventists living in the Arctic region begin the Sabbath when the sun reaches its lowest point above the horizon in the summer. In the winter (when the sun doesn’t come up) the time is calculated and printed in “sunset calendars” for the different areas. Other than in the extreme north, the “twilight” theory is used, for even though the sun doesn’t actually appear in these areas, there is a lightening of the sky during every 24 hour period in winter. Sunset is calculated when this twilight turns to darkness, and the day is kept till twilight again turns to darkness the following night.

    This however really is not dependant upon the IDL or meridian — they still keep Sabbath on Saturday.
    They still count their days in accord with the rest of the world.

    We have lived fairly far north and the Sabbath hours do shift from Friday mid afternoon with early sundown Saturday afternoon, to no Friday evening Sabbath hours and it being Sabbath till late at night on Saturday.

    Actually this phenomena dispels the notion that the Sabbath starts at the same time all along the 180th meridian. In June and December there is a 12 hour difference from one end to the other of the 180th meridian in when the sun actually sets.

    • Dear Ulicia,

      Just to clarify for anyone reading this, I believe you and I are in total agreement on Sabbath keeping in the Arctic. Your “lowest point above the horizon” is my “actual midnight” — same thing. Your moment of brightest “twilight,” getting darker from there, is also my “actual noon.” We have also both suggested that the most accurate way to observe these imputed sunsets is to “calculate,” which is another way of saying that we use “records.”

      May God bless our people to understand that the generally accepted day line (called the IDL) — based on the collective decisions of the world’s civil authorities and unrelated to the meridians — is the only human decision which must necessarily affect our observance of the Lord’s Sabbath, and that simply because God has chosen to set things up this way. The prime meridian, and the other meridians, having appeared at such a late stage in human history, are a human invention that cannot affect Sabbath keeping in any way — again, unless we are in a ship on the open sea, far from land.

      • Brother White,

        This is what you wrote,
        “May God bless our people to understand that the generally accepted day line (called the IDL) — based on the collective decisions of the world’s civil authorities and unrelated to the meridians — is the only human decision which must necessarily affect our observance of the Lord’s Sabbath, and that simply because God has chosen to set things up this way. The prime meridian, and the other meridians, having appeared at such a late stage in human history, are a human invention that cannot affect Sabbath keeping in any way — again, unless we are in a ship on the open sea, far from land.”

        Brother, I don’t believe that someone will say that the IDL is UNRELATED to the Meridians. Please study this topic again (the IDL) because most of what you will read in this topic is the “180 degrees meridian.”

        Brother, the shifting of the IDL from the left to the right OR from the right to the left of the 180 degrees meridian AFFECT Sabbath keeping. We will change from one day to another.

        Whether we are in a ship at SEA or in a LAND, we can still work out our Sabbath. The world is both LAND & SEA.

        God Bless…Steve

        • Dear Steve,

          You wrote:

          Brother, I don’t believe that someone will say that the IDL is UNRELATED to the Meridians. Please study this topic again (the IDL) because most of what you will read in this topic is the “180 degrees meridian.”

          I will acknowledge that the enemy of souls appears to have been marvelously successful in encouraging the development of a massive popular misconception in regard to the IDL, and in using it to trick the SDA Church into the observance of the papal sabbath in a part of the world. This is not to take any glory away from God. I’m sure He had His good and necessary reasons for allowing this to happen.

          The fact remains that the meridians are essentially unrelated to the day line (the IDL). I first heard this from a fellow student when I was in college, and it did sound rather strange at the time. However, I now find that the facts bear this out. Every record, current or historical, which seeks to establish a connection between the IDL and the meridians, appears to be merely echoing and perpetuating a popular myth. If you have read through the proceedings of the 1884 Meridian Conference, then you should know this.

          Yes, I do accept the 180-degree anti-meridian as a nautical day/date line. This is not inconsistent, as it may appear to be at first glance. The world’s powers have agreed to use the meridian in this way, making the practice just another step in the natural development of the day line since Creation Week. On or near land, the naturally developed day line is the International Date Line, which is unrelated to the meridians.

          Blessings.

          • Brother R. G. White,

            Thank you for your comments in bold writings BUT these are few websites that talk about the IDL and its RELATIONSHIP to the 180 degrees meridian. I only give you 7 because I am a Seventh-day Adventist person NOT a Saturday Adventist or a Sunday Adventist.

            http://wwp.greenwichmeridian.com/date-line.htm

            http://www.worldatlas.com/aatlas/infopage/dateline.htm

            http://geography.about.com/od/physicalgeography/a/idl.htm

            http://www.timeanddate.com/time/dateline.html

            http://www.thefreedictionary.com/International+Date+Line

            http://science.yourdictionary.com/international-date-line

            http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/international_date.php

            God Bless…Brother Steve

          • Hi Steve, I can imagine that it must be very hard to give up ideas which you have been taught and have accepted all your life. I was just thinking today on how prejudice works, after reading a book on slavery in the US. I remember driving to work with a good woman who said, “I don’t have a prejudiced bone in my body.” Nevertheless she appeared very prejudiced to me — generally being very sure of the inferior character of persons of colour. She was, however, completely unaware of this, wanting to be “unprejudiced.” She had grown up with these ideas, and they were ingrained in her character. It’s very hard to change such ingrained notions.

            In your case, it seems to me that certain ideas about the IDL have been with you all your life, and you can’t see past these, even if the sources you read say something different. You “see” only what agrees with your certainty of what is right. I’m not blaming you for this. It’s quite natural.

            It’s a bit different for me. Until recently, I’ve never had reason to give the IDL much thought. However, the plight of our brothers and sisters in Samoa has caused me to study the subject out. It was probably easier for me than for you, because there were no pre-existing prejudices to knock down. :)

            See if you can read these sources just a bit more thoroughly.

            It’s necessary to read each document all the way, not just the first sentence or two.:) It is true that the IDL runs generally along the 180th Meridian, which is a strictly arbitrary, imaginary line. If any of the other competing “prime meridians” had been adopted, it would not even generally run along the 180th Meridian. It is also true that the nautical IDL runs directly along the 180th Meridian. But the land-based IDL is not tied to the 180th Meridian. It depends on the decision of governments in the vicinity of the 180th Meridian. (If a different “prime meridian” had been established, the IDL would have run approximately along a different meridian.)

            As it is, each of the pages you listed made clear that the actual IDL is not a straight line but curves around various islands and other land masses:
            http://wwp.greenwichmeridian.com/date-line.htm says:

            The line deviates in places to avoid crossing any land. …

            http://www.worldatlas.com/aatlas/infopage/dateline.htm says:

            The International Date Line … is not a perfectly straight line and has been moved slightly over the years to accommodate needs (or requests) of varied countries in the Pacific Ocean. Note how it bends to include all of Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga and Tokelau in the Eastern Hemisphere.

            http://geography.about.com/od/physicalgeography/a/idl.htm says:

            The International Date Line is not a straight line, either. Since its beginning, it has zigzagged to avoid spitting apart countries into two days. It bends through the Bering Strait to avoid placing far northeastern Russia in a different day than the rest of the country. … the line is simply established by international agreement and there are not treaties or formal agreements associated with the line

            http://www.timeanddate.com/time/dateline.html shows the bends of the IDL very clearly, demonstrating that the real IDL does not lie exactly on the imaginary line that is called the 180th Meridian. Unfortunately the first sentence is a bit poorly worded, and thus the second sentence/paragraph almost appears to contradict the first:

            The International Date Line (IDL) is an imaginary line of longitude on the Earth’s surface located at about 180 degrees east (or west) of the Greenwich Meridian.

            The date line is shown as an uneven black vertical line in the Time Zone Map above and marks the divide where the date changes by one day. It makes some deviations from the 180-degree meridian to avoid dividing countries in two, especially in the Polynesia region.

            http://www.thefreedictionary.com/International+Date+Line This page contains the fallacy that the IDL was established at the Meridian Conference of 1884. This is not true, as you can see by reading the documents of the conference. However, even this source is quite clear that the IDL only approximately follows the imaginary line that is the 180th Meridian:

            An imaginary line on the Earth’s surface that is internationally agreed upon as the place where each new calendar day begins. The line extends from the North to the South Pole through the Pacific Ocean, roughly along the 180th meridian.

            http://science.yourdictionary.com/international-date-line The wording of this source is quite clear in indicating that the real IDL is the line on which nations have agreed. That means that is is not something that can be established arbitrarily by a religious body. Unfortunately even this source perpetuates the fallacy that the dateline was established in 1884. Only the Prime Meridian was established then, and that is very different. (If the Prime Meridian had been established in France, the actual date line would have been unaffected.)

            An imaginary line on the Earth’s surface that is internationally agreed upon as the place where each new calendar day begins. The line extends from the North to the South Pole through the Pacific Ocean, roughly along the 180th meridian.

            http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/international_date.php This is another map of the actual IDL.

            The International Date Line can be anywhere on the globe. But it is most convenient to be 180° away from the defining meridian that goes through Greenwich, England. It also is fortunate that this area is covered, mainly, by empty ocean. However, there have always been zigs and zags in it to allow for local circumstances.

          • I agree with your valuable observations, Inge, but to be thoroughly fair to brother Steve, not all of the information in those kinds of articles is true and accurate. Some flatly state that the IDL is the 180-degree meridian. Even a quick look at the map will disprove that.

            Others state, as you have pointed out, that the IDL generally follows the meridian, with exceptions or deviations in some places to avoid crossing any land. This too is false. Entire island groups such as Tonga and Samoa lie between the IDL and the meridian.

            Most sources seem to state that the IDL lies close to the meridian. This is true, in and of itself. However, it is misleading because in fact the IDL and the meridians are essentially unrelated — the day line (IDL) having been around long before any of the meridians.

            I’m afraid there’s no getting around the fact that popular misconceptions persist even today, and we can’t necessarily believe everything we read. When we look at an article that states or implies that the IDL was created in 1884, and then read how it was deliberately altered by the Philippines in 1844 and by Alaska in 1867, we should see that something doesn’t add up. For one thing, the “universal meridians” were only recommended for worldwide acceptance in 1884. For another, the Philippines are not even close to the 180-degree anti-meridian.

            It’s like hearing that July 1, 1867 is Canada’s birth date, and then learning that Canada successfully fended off a series of U. S. invasions in the War of 1812. We can’t have it both ways.

            God bless!

        • It seems to me that what Ellen wrote applies to SDA’s in Samoa today:

          The sin of those who have been enlightened as to the origin and support of Sunday, is very grievous in the sight of God, when they cling to the tradition of men, and thus make void the commandment of God. When the binding claims of the fourth commandment are presented, many use every subterfuge to avoid the conclusion that God requires the observance of the day which he sanctified and blessed. When every other argument against keeping the commandments of God is shown to be vain, the opposers of his law take refuge in the delusion that there is no law, that the commandments of God were abolished by Christ at the cross. What an astonishing statement, that God has no law! Kings of the earth have laws whereby the nations are governed, and has the God of the universe no law? Those who advocate this doctrine say they rejoice in the glorious liberty wherewith Christ has made them free; but from what have they been made free?–Not from sin surely, since sin is the transgression of the law, and where there is no law, there is no transgression. If there is no law, then it is right for every man to follow the depraved impulses of his own heart; for there is no standard by which evil can be detected. It is plain from the results of this doctrine who is the originator of such a theory, for it is manifestly of Satan’s devising, since Christ came to save his people from their sins. Christ is not the minister of sin, and the idea that he came to give liberty to men to break his Father’s law, and to free them from the penalty of willful transgression, is utterly out of harmony with his example and teaching. {ST, October 2, 1893 par. 4}

  13. To Inge Anderson,

    I copy your comment here for you to read again and for me to respond to it:

    “Dear Steve,

    You ask, “What’s the problem?”

    And I say this is the problem: By essentially establishing a private date line, Adventists in a number of countries are keeping as Sabbath a day which is universally recognized as the first day of the week – a day to which the Roman Catholic church claims to have transferred the sanctity of the Sabbath. It is a mark of the authority and power of Rome.”

    It is, of course, your privilege to keep the “Sabbath” established by Rome’s authority, and it is a particularly convenient thing for Adventists to do in Tonga where first-day “Sabbath” laws are so stringent. But it is surely a strange thing to do for anyone who claims the name of Seventh-day Adventist. In fact, an Adventist who keeps the Sunday established by Roman authority is a First-day Adventist, not a Seventh-day Adventist. I understand we even have a very few real Seventh-day Adventists in Tonga. Praise the Lord!”

    MY RESPOND
    Thank you for PLAYING GOD and “understand that we even have a very few real Seventh-day Adventists in Tonga.” Our people travel a lot overseas & Tonga is also known as the country with the most PhDs per capita.

    Just to let you know that there are more Tongan Seventh-day Adventist members OVERSEAS than in Tonga. Many Tongan SDA Churches in New Zealand, Australia, USA, even American Samoa. When we look at Pastors, there are more Tongan pastors in New Zealand, or USA, or Australia THAN in Tonga.

    I fully understand your arguments and agree with it where I am now (in Australia). BUT consider the problem of the IDL that can shift anytime by any country in the Pacific that close to it & also consider the problem of NO SUNSET in the North & South Poles for many months. The Body of Christ on earth, HIS CHURCH has to make decisions in these difficult issues.

    God Bless…Steve

    • Dear Steve,

      It seems you may have taken my statement as an insult, and I am very sorry for this. I have no wish to insult anyone, least of all you.

      I am happy to note the excellent record of Adventists from Tonga who are keeping the genuine seventh day in other parts of the world. :)

      I have made a simple observation: Adventists that keep Sunday, the first day of the week, cannot, by definition be Seventh-day Adventists. I don’t see that as “playing God.” I see it as a simple, common-sense observation. An observation that doesn’t require a PhD. I’m not saying that Adventists who mistakenly keep the first day of the week as Sabbath in Tonga are not sincere. I’m not saying they are not godly. I’m not saying that God cannot save them.

      I am, however, saying that, as long as they stay in Tonga and keep Sunday, they are not experiencing what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist, and that is very sad. I believe they are missing out on some special blessings. Our church has failed them, and it is time to redeem the failure — difficult as it may seem.

      We are told that, in the final crisis, all persons living on this planet will have to choose whether to bow to the authority of a man-made religion whose special mark of authority is the Sunday Sabbath or whether to bow to the authority of God whose special sign is the genuine keeping of the Sabbath He established in Eden, embedded in the Ten Commandments and honoured even in death by resting in the grave before His resurrection on Sunday.

      There’s much more to Sabbath keeping than keeping the right day, and I daresay that it is possible that some keep Sabbath better on the first day than others keep it on the seventh day, which is known around the world as Saturday. But that does not make Sunday into the seventh day! But I also need to add right here that most of God’s people are still in Sunday-keeping churches this very day, and this likely includes a great many Tongan first-day Adventists.

      You seem to be a thinking person, and I would like to challenge you to consider whether you believe that the South Pacific will be exempt from the test that will come to professed followers of Christ in all the rest of the world. Some have suggested that certain South Pacific islands will be a sanctuary when seventh-day Sabbath keeping will be inconvenient in other countries. Do you believe this? Can you? Do you believe in the end-time scenario as understood by Seventh-day Adventists? If so, how do you see this playing out in the South Pacific?

      Remember that the difference between true followers of God and professing followers in the time of Christ had to do with a choice between following tradition or accepting the words of Jesus Christ. All the leaders of the church — the conservative, church-going folks – of Christ’s day followed the tradition of the elders (missionaries?). Christ’s followers had to abandon tradition and bravely put their trust in Christ alone. In the time of the Reformation, Christ’s true followers had to make the choice between the traditions handed down from the “church fathers” and the truth found in the written word of God. Brave men gave their lives for abandoning tradition and basing their faith on the Word of God alone. Now in Tonga we have all the leaders of the church following the tradition of the missionaries, rather than the biblical Sabbath, according to the local calendar which is the only calendar that can sensibly determine the Sabbath. Only a very few brave people keep the seven-day Sabbath, distinct from the first day of the week, in Tonga.

      The “whole church” was wrong in the time of Christ. Pretty much “the whole church” was wrong at the time of the Reformation. Pretty much “the whole church” was wrong in 1844. Do you think it impossible that the “whole SPD administrative team” just might be wrong today? (I understand that their decision on promoting Sunday keeping in Samoa is not widely supported among the pastors and members, so I won’t say “the whole church in the SPD.”)

      Which side will you choose — the path of tradition, or the more dangerous path of supporting the seventh-day Sabbath that is distinct from the mark of man’s authority? I don’t expect you to post an answer here, but I will pray that you will seriously weigh these questions in your mind.

      With Christian love & prayers,
      Inge

    • Hi Steve,

      There are many more Tongans now overseas rather than be in Tonga, why be a Seventh Day Adventist in Tonga when you could go to any church you choose and still say you are worshipping on Sabbath? How does a Tongan (and now Samoan) Seventh day Adventist hold a Bible study in Tonga about the 3 angels message? What is the light that shines in Tonga and now samoa that reveals the sign between God and HIS end time people? Do you think the church in Australia and New Zealand would ever worship on the same day as all the other sun day keepers , or is it only okay for the those still on Island?

      We both know, Steve, from our knowledge of the islands how easy this was to push on a sleeping church. The islands shut down on Sunday and all the Seventh Day Adventist youth were missing out on their sport on Saturdays. All the Seventh Day Adventist business people were missing out on business on saturday.

      Compromise and convenience are not of God. In fact in our relationship with our precious Saviour they block the blessings.

      Happy Sabbath Steve

  14. Dear Steve,
    You wrote:

    Thank you for your explanation BUT the only BIBLICAL way of keeping the SABBATH is from SUNSET to SUNSET or from EVENING to EVENING. There is no CLOSE to the HORIZON in the BIBLE, that’s what I mean.

    I don’t understand your objection, Steve. In the Arctic and Antarctic, “close to the horizon” is the sunset in the summer. There is no other. Or are you suggesting that the “day” in the Arctic and Antarctic summers is about 2000 hours long?

    God made the reckoning of the Sabbath very simple. It is on the seventh day of the week in whatever society we find ourselves — that is, the seventh day according to the local calendar — and it is from sunset to sunset. All complicated explanations are wrong, as I see it.

    Brother, no matter what you say or believe about the UNIVERSAL PRIME MERIDIAN, everyone follow that today for reckoning of time PM & AM. IDL follow that as well, with the exceptions that we discussed before. The UNIVERSAL PRIME MERIDIAN is followed by “ALL NATIONS, TONGUES, TRIBES AND PEOPLE.”

    Yes the universal Prime Meridian is followed for the purpose of determining the relative hour of the day, but that has nothing to do with Sabbath keeping, since the Sabbath is kept from sunset to sunset, not from one particular hour to another.

    I believe in this discussion, we are concerned with which day is the Sabbath, and the day begins at the International Date Line, which is agreed upon by “ALL NATIONS, TONGUES, TRIBES AND PEOPLE,” as you put it. This line does not follow the 180th Meridian exactly, as we have pointed out previously. It is a zig-zagging line that is determined by international agreement. Unfortunately it seems that the South Pacific Division has chosen to ignore the International Date Line in favor of a standard of its own devising. Even more unfortunately that has made first-day Sunday keepers out of people who consider themselves Seventh-day Sabbath keepers.

    What a world of confusion is caused by failing to follow simple biblical guide lines!

  15. We’ve had an interesting exchange on Sabbath keeping in the Arctic. It has even been said that correct Sabbath observance in the Arctic is impossible!

    There is no CLOSE to the HORIZON in the BIBLE…

    This is certainly consistent with the position that it is also impossible to correctly observe the Sabbath in Samoa, a country where the IDL has been moved, as the Law of God does not specifically provide for a one-off 6-day or 8-day week. Clearly, Ellen White did not see it this way. Indeed, she recorded her acceptance of a one-time 6-day week on her way to Australia. Here is what she wrote about the Sabbath.

    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. In the countries where there is no sunset for months, and again no sunrise for months, the period of time will be calculated by records kept…. {3SM 317.1

    Clearly, she believed that it was possible to meet the requirements of the 4th Commandment, regardless of any apparent difficulties, and even when living in the Arctic.

    Some have expressed the wish that God had set things up differently — that He had specified a fixed location for the day line. It occurs to me that God could have set things up any way He wanted to. There must be a reason why things are set up the way they are.

    Jesus explained these things to the Pharisees. He justified David and his men in eating the show bread, although the law made provision for only the priests to eat it. He justified the work of His disciples, on the Sabbath day, plucking and winnowing the grain in their hands in order to satisfy their hunger. If we today find it so necessary to be sticklers for the law, not being able to accept an Arctic “sunset” as close as possible to the horizon, nor a short or long week in adjusting for the (IDL) day line, I can only think that Jesus’ examples would have presented us with a major problem as well.

    Even more troubling is the thought that we might go beyond merely questioning God’s ways, and take things into our own hands. Shall we actually attempt to set a fixed location for the day line, because we feel that’s what God should have done? And, in the absence of Scriptural authority for our improvised solution, shall we seek to substitute the authority of the church?

    In 1888, God obviously saw that we, as a people, were in grave need of correction. We had become so enamoured by the law that we had forgotten Jesus. Worst of all, once He had sent us His message of reproof, it seems that we refused it. Jesus is “out there,” in the person of the soul thirsting for truth and righteousness. If we choose a day line (and a “Sabbath”) to suit ourselves, will this not leave us with nothing to share with a lost and dying world? Seventh-day Adventists have a distinctive message to share, concerning the seal of God and the mark of the beast, and the vital importance of showing our love and loyalty to Jesus by choosing His day. How can we share this with the people of all nations, while it remains unclear that we are putting it into practice, ourselves?

    • If we accept in Faith what God’s Word explains to us as the Seventh-Day, as part of the 1-7-day cycle and also how we today “measure” the 1-7-day week in terms of the names of the days and the date, wherever we are located in the world we live, it is exactly the same the world over. That is, the Seventh-Day of this week is Saturday, 16 March, 2013. What the proponents of Sunday worship have failed to explain and justify, according to God’s Word and the “measure” we use today to recognize the name of the day and the date is, why is Sunday, 17 March, the Seventh-Day Sabbath? And within this context, why would Samoa be singled out as being “special” keeping Sunday as the Seventh-Day Sabbath in opposition to God’s Word and inconsistent with following the universal calendar.

      Steve, if you are contemplating responding to this post, please take note of your advice and learned insight and provide a simple repsonse to a straight-forward question.

      Happy Sabbath, ulalei

  16. To Inge Anderson, R. G. White, Ulicia, Lance Cutts, Ulalei Letele,

    I would like to thank you all for your comments and responses to me in the subject of the Sabbath in Samoa. I have noticed that I am the only OUTSIDER that is dialoguing with you in this forum.

    I have put in all my arguments on the topic that we discussed. That is what I believe and it happened that this is what the SDA Church believes as well.

    My prayer are with the SDA members of Samoa; 98% who are keeping the 7th day Sabbath on the same day since the arrival of the SDA missionaries (it is called Sunday now for Business reasons) & the 2% that keep the 7th day Sabbath on the day that is locally called Saturday now (started on the day after Thursday 29, December 2011).

    You all have given your arguments before and I have given mine. Let us wait on God to show us His will now. We have done our best, let GOD deal with the rest.

    How is our walk with God? Are we closer now to Him than last year? Are we helping the SDA Church in Samoa?

    Let me tell you this, all the SHARKS in Samoa know the 7th day Sabbath in the last 120 years. They will not come close or attack any person on the 7th day Sabbath. The SHARKS had no idea of the SIX DAY WEEK of December 2011; they still follow the SEVEN DAY CYCLE. MY WARNING, If you go to Samoa soon my brothers and sisters, don’t go swimming or fishing on SUNDAY because the SHARKS did not know that there was an IDL shift for Samoa in 2011.

    Thank you all again for taking time to dialogue with me and if I have said something that was offensive to anybody please forgives me.

    God Bless and I love you all my brothers & sisters in CHRIST…Steve

    • Sharks! How interesting! Special Samoan sharks that know about the 7-day week, know about the Saturday Sabbath and try to enforce it, but don’t understand the IDL so they are enforcing Sunday instead! Hmm…

      It kind of reminds me of a certain “Letter from Heaven.”

      (See “The Seventh Day Part 3.”)

    • Hi Steve

      Are these Samoan sharks denominational, Catholic? Methodist? Or are they Seventh-day Adventist sharks now fasting on sunday?

      Sounds a bit fishy to me, my brother:)

  17. I have read a few letters from Pastors and church members about the sabbath issue in Samoa and have a solution in mind. If the majority of pastors in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere does not support the decision made by the SPD. Please move on and start your own church and see if you will be successful. The SPD and the church world wide will not suffer. This issue has been discussed and challenged during the mini bible conference at the SPD office and from what I heard, there was no valid arguments from the side opposing the SPD to change the SPD decision.

  18. [Moderator note: This post was moved to a more appropriate place than the one where it was submitted.]

    My analogy about Germany/France and the two Samoas is spot on: we are talking about the same day, the same night, the same midnight, the same midday! How could the same day be Sabbath and non-Sabbath at the same time? It is only a human convention, not a divine decree that the IDL is what it is. If we decide to have it between France and Germany one day, then according to your reasoning those countries will have to have their Sabbaths on different days. The IDL and modern calendar have been imposed on the Samoas by Westerners, the indigenous population did not have a concept of date line at all. Having said that, I’m beginning to understand your reasoning, just like I do understand the reasoning of those who disagree with you. I have asked you if you can see a solution that would satisfy everyone. Since you avoid answering me, I assume that the answer is “no”. And I agree with you here. You are trying to impose a pre-modern concept of God on a spherical world, and it is never going to work.

    • In one sense I can agree with you.
      When the first missionaries began their work among the South Pacific Islands around 1800 AD, they obviously did not put the Islands on different days. As these London Society missionaries and Wesleyan missionaries established missions on Island after Island they introduced the Asian week to all of them. From the Polynesian Islands to Australia, everyone was on the same day.

      These missionaries were in contact with English ships that docked at various Islands (as well as ships from other nations) whose captains and crew knew their maps, so there is nothing to the oft repeated claim that the missionaries were “ignorant” of the dateline. For if their “week” really was a big mistake, as some now claim, these missionaries who fully believed Sunday was the “Christian Sabbath” would have immediately changed their practice and not continued to introduce a “wrong” day count when they established new missions.

      Indeed the 180th was imposed on these Islands by westerners, shortly after 1884, as all Islands east of the 180th came under pressure to CHANGE.
      The Tongan Islands chose NOT to change and to continue to be on the same day as their larger close neighbors. Samoa did change in 1892 thus for about 120 years they were on a different day from it’s close neighors (Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia etc).

      So basically the problem came due to the 1890’s imposed push to line up with this imaginary 180th line, which divided these Islands into being on different days.

      The solution isn’t easy. And yet it is easy.

      First — the idea needs to be accepted that there is absolutely NOTHING sacred about the 180th. It most certainly does NOT stem back to creation.

      Secondly — the move of Tonga (rejecting the early pressure to change) and Samoa (going back to “belonging” with her larger neighbors) should be accepted as good and logical. They are on the same “day” as most of their neighbors (especially the larger neighbors)

      Thirdly — by accepting these decisions, keep the seventh day Sabbath as it is officially known as Saturday, and stop tryiny to impose an arbitrary line as the “divine divide”.

      Fourthly — it’s quite possible that American Samoa and the Cook Islands, may change in the future as well as they are kind of the “odd man out” in the neighborhood of Islands.

      So the solution is to recognize the seventh day as officially accepted in these Islands, (Saturday) as the Sabbath and stop bringing in this confusion of calling the first day, Sunday, the “seventh day.”

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