Comments

The Sabbath in the Pacific Around the Date Line — 17 Comments

  1. Bravo Robert, for your very concise report on the Sabbath/Sunday issue.

    I find that the issue has been a misunderstanding.
    This is not an issue over the enforcement of Sunday law.
    All that the leaders were doing was trying to bring Samoa in line with New Zealand,
    by shifting the date line. They didn’t change the days of the week. They just eliminated
    one Friday from the month.
    Which means everything should remain the same — for example if the following Sabbath of the following week, was the 7th, 8th or whatever. Then from that Sabbath you should have continued as you were. Hence avoiding having to acknowledge Sunday as a day of worship, let alone the Sabbath, which it is not.
    May God grant Samoa the peace it needs, to continue worshiping on the Lord’s Sabbath Day. Your brother, Garry

    • My comments
      As someone who was convicted of the truth of the Sabbath by the revelation of the Holy Spirit in my teenage years as I listened to the message on the Sabbath for the first time ever in my life through the preaching of Pastor Fereti Puni (Auckland, NZ) in the 1970s, I used to think that the Seventh-day Adventist people were rather strange that they would quote Ellen G White during sermons/Bible studies as I never read of an Ellen G. White in all of the Scriptures.  However, over the years of God teaching and leading me to  gain ‘wisdom, understanding, counsel, might/courage, knowledge, fear of the LORD and righteous judgement’ on matters of my relationship with Jesus Christ and my fellow people(Isaiah 11:1-5), I praise God for the counsel/visions given to Ellen G. White for the sake of His people in these last days.  

      I sought out Ellen G. White’s writings on the Shaking and I share these with our readers.  Be encouraged, for what is happening is not ‘unknown’ to God.  But may His love and great mercies continue to draw our hearts to ‘love and obey His ways’.  With what I have read from Ellen G. White, I have summarised my understanding of her counsel to the church in these last days.  

      The excerpts from Ellen G. White I’ve shared here remind us that:-
      1.  Know that there are two armies in this Spiritual Conflict.   One is lead by Immanuel Himself and the other is lead by the Adversary the Devil, Dragon or Satan.
      2.  We, the living are part of the Conflict.  Each one of us has to make a choice for which Commander we follow.
      3.  The Seventh-day Adventist Church and its people will experience the time of the Shaking internally.  
      4.  The Spirit of Reformation to be kindled amongst God’s people.  The years of Reformation saw the Spirit of God bring light and freedom to those who sought freedom from ‘false religion and worship’.  Live by Faith!
      5.  The trials and shaking inside the church will be great.  The enemy of Christ is ruthless and is out to destroy the faith of those who love and remain faithful to Jesus Christ and His kingdom.
      6.  Each individual is encouraged to pray earnestly, keep focus on Jesus Christ as the focus of the enemy’s attack is upon those ‘who keep the commandments and the testimony of Jesus Christ’.  Practise kindness and love in the midst of great trial amongst God’s people.  
      7.  Inspite of the hardship of the trials, the LORD ALMIGHTY does not leave His people alone.  He sends His angels to assist and His Holy Spirit will manifest His Great Power in these trials.
      8.  Through the great trials, a greater separation will happen and needs to happen.  
      9.  God admonishes all His people to pray and show love inspite of these trials and great shaking.  This is the sign to the world that ‘we are His disciples when we love one another’.  
      10. Immanuel is the Victorious One! He has won the warfare over our lives so serve Him with a greatful heart and know even if physical death should come, know that there is Eternal Resurrection into Eternal Life with Jesus Christ. 

      Sister White wrote:
      In vision I saw two armies in terrible conflict. One army was led by banners bearing the world’s insignia; the other was led by the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel. Standard after standard was left to trail in the dust as company after company from the Lord’s army joined the foe and tribe after tribe from the ranks of the enemy united with the commandment-keeping people of God. {8T 41.1

      Sister White wrote:
      An angel flying in the midst of heaven put the standard of Immanuel into many hands, while a mighty general cried out with a loud voice: “Come into line. Let those who are loyal to the commandments of God and the testimony of Christ now take their position. Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters. Let all who will come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty.” {8T 41.1}

      Evil angels crowded around, pressing darkness upon them to shut out Jesus from their view, that their eyes might be drawn to the darkness that surrounded them, and thus they be led to distrust God and murmur against Him. Their only safety was in keeping their eyes directed upward. Angels of God had charge over His people, and as the poisonous atmosphere of evil angels was pressed around these anxious ones, the heavenly angels were continually wafting their wings over them to scatter the thick darkness. {EW 269.2}

      I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this is what will cause a shaking among God’s people. {EW 270.2}

      I saw that the testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded. This testimony must work deep repentance; all who truly receive it will obey it and be purified. {EW 270.3}

      Said the angel, “List ye!” Soon I heard a voice like many musical instruments all sounding in perfect strains, sweet and harmonious. It surpassed any music I had ever heard, seeming to be full of mercy, compassion, and elevating, holy joy. It thrilled through my whole being. Said the angel, “Look ye!” My attention was then turned to the company I had seen, who were mightily shaken. I was shown those whom I had before seen weeping and praying in agony of spirit. The company of guardian angels around them had been doubled, and they were clothed with an armor from their head to their feet. They moved in exact order, like a company of soldiers. Their countenances expressed the severe conflict which they had endured, the agonizing struggle they had passed through. Yet their features, marked with severe internal anguish, now shone with the light and glory of heaven. They had obtained the victory, and it called forth from them the deepest gratitude and holy, sacred joy. {EW 270.4}

      “What the church needs is to be cleansed of those who defile it. The spirit of reformation must be kindled among us, and this class must be converted or be separated from the church. We entreat those who have a connection with God to pray earnestly and in faith, and not to stop here, but to work as well as pray, for the purification of the church.” — Ellen G. White, The Review and Herald, June 3, 1880.

      Sister White wrote:
      The battle raged. Victory alternated from side to side. Now the soldiers of the cross gave way, “as when a standardbearer fainteth.” Isaiah 10:18. But their apparent retreat was but to gain a more advantageous position. Shouts of joy were heard. A song of praise to God went up, and angel voices united in the song, as Christ’s soldiers planted His banner on the walls of fortresses till then held by the enemy. The Captain of our salvation was ordering the battle and sending support to His soldiers. His power was mightily displayed, encouraging them to press the battle to the gates. He taught them terrible things in righteousness as He led them on step by step, conquering and to conquer. {8T 41.2}

      Sister White wrote:
      At last the victory was gained. The army following the banner with the inscription, “The commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus,” was gloriously triumphant. The soldiers of Christ were close beside the gates of the city, and with joy the city received her King. The kingdom of peace and joy and everlasting righteousness was established. {8T 41.3}

  2. Calendar changes are not new to mankind. And let us not fool ourselves. Man over time has attempted to changed God’s 7-day week to suit himself at different periods of man’s history and in different places for different reasons. History has shown that the week was not always called a “7-day week”. For some it was changed for only a one week period as in the 8-day week of 1892 in Samao or the 6-day week in 2011. Other places have used different number of days for a week in the past, some for examples, 3 years and even as much as twelve years as listed below (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Week).

    But the important question is: Where a sabbath keeper lived/lives in one of these regions where a week is/was not a 7-day week, how is/was he expected to recognize which day is the seventh day as instructed by God. For example, in the French revolutionary period of 1793 – 1805 the Calendar consisted of three ten-day weeks in a month called décades. Does the Seventh-day Adventist church have any instructions on how its members, if any, kept the sabbath during those periods.

    To say that the seventh day comes after “Friday” and before “Sunday” is convenient when there is a clearly outlined 7-day week as per the Gregorian calendar which we now conveniently use. Advocates are now calling for another change to the calender to bring all peoples into uniformity with what they call the “World Calendar” – (http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/worldcalendar.html). Should these advocates of a new world calendar have their way, this is what would happen: “World Day (New Year’s Eve) occurs every year between December 30 and January 1 and is not assigned a weekday. Leap Day occurs every fourth year between June 30 and July 1 and is likewise not assigned a weekday.”

    My question is if we discard every man made calendar, gregorian, world calendar, or what ever, including disregarding the names of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday or whatever else names there may be, because they are not mentioned in the bible, and we keep only to first day, second day, third day, fourth day, fifth day, sixth day (preparation day) and seventh day (Sabbath) because that is what the Bible says the days are called, where can we begin and how can I recognize the sabbath, even when I travel to a different land

    Samples of different week length:

    Five-day
    Main article: Javanese calendar

    The Javanese people of Indonesia have a five-day week known as the Pasaran cycle. This is still in use today and superimposed with seven-day week of the Gregorian calendar and Islamic calendar to become what is known as the 35-day Wetonan Cycle.

    Baltic calendars

    In the 14th century, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania used a solar-lunar calendar. The structure of this calendar was understood with the help of the so-called Gediminas Sceptre discovered in 1680.[11]

    Historical records[citation needed]give evidence that the week of the ancient Balts was nine days long. Thus, the sidereal month must have been divided into three parts

    Egypt
    Main article: Egyptian calendar

    Ancient Egypt had a ten-day week, three weeks per month with five extra days at the end of the year.

    Revolutionary France

    The French Republican Calendar consisted of three ten-day weeks in a month called décades

    p.s. How did ancient Israel, the children of God, recognize the sabbath while living in that Ancient Egypt that had a 10-day week?

  3. Dear Phyllis,

    You refer to Mark 15:42 and Luke 24:1-7, the references in God’s Word regarding the 7th-Day Sabbath found after preparation day and before the 1st-day of the week and write, “To say that the seventh day comes after “Friday” and before “Sunday” is convenient.”

    May I ask you what you mean? You give the impression that you are a God-fearing woman but in saying what you say, don’t you believe what God’s Word is saying about the Sabbath Day? Do you not believe in God’s Word regarding what it teaches about this point? God Bless, Ulalei

    • I fully believe the Word of God about the seventh day Sabbath and I also believe that the Sabbath comes between the sixth day and the first day. From my present knowledge I also believe that the Sabbath comes every unbroken consecutive seventh day, and it has been so since creation. I also believe that God’s people are called to stand for truth no matter the circumstances.

      God is not a god that will change His calendar to suit political and economic favors as was done in Samao in 1892 and again in 2011 (and previously as history shows). It was always the governments who instituted the changes, and not God (at least no one can show that they got instructions from God). Now, the week in Samao beginning July 3, 1892 was set out to run as usual, the seven days, but the government said: no, no, we need to catch up with our American counterparts therefore we will CALL THE SECOND DAY MONDAY AND ALSO THE THIRD DAY, MONDAY, AND THEY WILL CARRY THE SAME DATE JULY 4, July 4.

      How can one tell me that when the seventh day of that week came, that it was not the 7th day Biblical Sabbath, because it was named Friday? But the eight day of that week which was called Saturday, which in fact was the first day of the following week, was the sabbath, because it was named Saturday? Can any one tell me if the sabbath keepers at that time skipped the seventh day of that week, went to work as usual but went to church on the eight day because it was Saturday?

      Since the sabbath comes at the end of an unbroken seven day week, the government instituting a different number of days in a week should not alter God’s people observing His Sabbath. If I am to accept the Gregorian calendar as it is, I support the members who worship on Saturday as the seventh day, not because it is called Saturday, but taking into consideration the error which was adopted from the change in July 1892, and believing that God’s seven day week is not varied and the sabbath comes every consecutive seventh day, Samao’s seven day week was corrected by the change effected in December 2011. It is world’s political and economic powers that influence which side of the date line Samao stands, not biblical truth.

      • “From my present knowledge I also believe that the Sabbath comes every unbroken consecutive seventh day, and it has been so since creation.”

        Most assuredly, Phyllis, this has always been true from a global perspective. However, I must question whether it has always been true in each and every location. The “problem” is that God made our world round. When the human race migrated around the entire globe, from the Tower of Babel, the weekly cycle of those who migrated eastward would have been found to be one day off from the weekly cycle of those who had migrated westward.

        If secular historians are to be believed, those migration patterns were eastward as far as the Americas, and (at first) westward only as far as the west coast of Europe and Africa, with the Atlantic Ocean in between.

        Does this mean that Christopher Columbus, and other explorers, discovered a one-day difference in the day of the week, when they first visited the Americas? Maybe. However, we do know that the 7-day week was once completely forgotten in some of the Pacific islands. The most famous aboriginal American calendar, the Mayan, included 9-day cycles and 13-day cycles, but evidently no 7-day week. If this is at all representative, that would have allowed migrating Europeans to bring the “westerly migrant” orientation of their weekly cycle with them to the Americas without even knowing that they were making a change! At one time, the “westerly migrant” week even extended as far as the Philippines, although Alaska was unaffected.

        At the end of 1844, the Philippines made a deliberate change (back to the Asian week) in order to be in sync with all of the other countries around them. In 1867, the U.S.A. knowingly made a change in Alaska, upon taking over that territory from the Russians. Following the Meridian Conference of 1884, a number of Pacific island groups chose to switch to the American week, including what are now Samoa and American Samoa. In more recent years, however, some of these island nations have been switching back to the Asian week, one by one, for whatever reasons. Samoa is merely the latest.

        With all of this in mind, Phyllis, I have some questions for you. You have said that you are in agreement with accepting the 2011 change in Samoa because it was the reversal of an earlier change in 1892.

        1) Shall we reject the 1892 change in American Samoa, which was not a reversal of anything, and start observing Friday as the Sabbath there? (By the way, the same question would apply to the 1867 change in Alaska.)

        2) Shall we accept or reject the 1844 change in the Philippines, which reversed a part of the great, gradual, silent change in the Americas? In other words, does it make any difference to you whether the earlier change, now being reversed, was a known, sudden, intentional change?

        3) Finally, shall we accept the silent, gradual change that took place in the Americas (except for Alaska) because it was slow and unintentional, or must we begin observing Friday as the Sabbath throughout Canada, the U.S.A., and many other countries, in order to prove that we know how to keep track?

        • Please note that my conclusion is based on the assumption “If I am to accept the Gregorian calendar as it is”.

          I am glad that you mentioned some of the many times when man made changes to the dateline and “the calendar”. The record shows that they were all for economic and political reasons, and the convenience of the world “working together in a better system”. That just goes to show that as sabbath keepers if we are to accept that God’s seven day week and the Sabbath are perpetual, then it’s obvious, we cannot depend on man’s calendar; we need to go back to the Bible and discover God’s calendar; the same one that was established at creation, the same one that God reaffirmed with the Children of Israel when He brought them out of Egypt, the same one David used, the same one Isaiah 66:23 speaks off regarding the New Earth. God’s calendar has never changed. It is we who have changed and continue to fail to

  4. The arguments concerning the many calendars in history and the changes in calendars are old. But God raised a people to keep track of the seven day week. It has not changed in spite of all the calendar changes.

    True, Israel lost the count during their years of enslavement in Egypt. So God re-established it by giving them manna six days, with a double portion on the sixth and none on the seventh.
    For forty years this took place — six days the manna fell, none on the seventh. The count was firmly re-established by God Himself.

    There is absolutely no mention that this count ever varied during those forty years. There was no monthly adjustment to fit any moon phases or anything of that nature. The seven day week was established by God, at creation, re-established to Israel during their wilderness travels and confirmed by Christ Himself when He lived upon earth.

    While the rest of the world had many different types of calendars, this seven day week remained in place by the “keepers of God’s Word”.

    The first day was later given the name Sunday, by the pagan world, the second became, Monday, etc. these names were already in place at the time of Christ as we see in the writings of some of the “church fathers” writing a few years after Christ. They did not change the count, only gave “names” to the seven days of the week. Names that designate the days as surely as 1st day, 2nd day did.
    There is no need for confusion. Saturday is Saturday, the seventh day the world over.

    • “But God raised a people to keep track of the seven day week. It has not changed in spite of all the calendar changes.”

      This is the most comforting statement I’ve read about the Sabbath since being a part of this discussion. I interpret this statement to mean that God has a people who can keep track of the seven day sabbath without the use of pagan’s calendar! Am I correct in saying so? Can we keep track of God’s seven day Sabbath without the use of the pagan calendar? That is the question for God’s people today. The children of Israel had no Sunday, Monday, etc. to help them, and what they used is what we need to know today.

      “There is absolutely no mention that this count ever varied during those forty years. There was no monthly adjustment to fit any moon phases or anything of that nature. The seven day week was established by God, at creation, re-established to Israel during their wilderness travels and confirmed by Christ Himself when He lived upon earth.”

      “While the rest of the world had many different types of calendars, this seven day week remained in place by the “keepers of God’s Word”.

      I totally agree with the above statements, but I’ll like to know, are there “keepers of God’s word” today? Why do we have to turn to pagan calendars to keep track of God’s seven day week and the sabbath?

      Am I correct in saying from your statement: “There was no monthly adjustment to fit any moon phases or anything of that nature”, that the children of Israel used the moon to help them keep track of the seven day week and the sabbath?

      ..”Saturday is Saturday, the seventh day the world over”; and if there is no variation to God’s seventh day week, in Samao, was Saturday July 8, 1982 the seventh day of the week or the first day of the week and was Saturday December 31, 2011, the 7th day of the week or was it the 6th day of the week. Ive written much on this before so I’ll write no more.

      Anyway I’m interested in being part of the group of God’s people who can keep track of his seventh day week and his sabbath without using the pagan calendar and therefore appreciate any bible truth that can lead me to doing so. When God’s people are forced to run to the hills and mountains in the time of trouble, would we be expected to take a copy of the Gregorian, Julian or World calendar?

      • Hi Phyllis,

        You asked:

        I totally agree with the above statements, but I’ll like to know, are there “keepers of God’s word” today?

        That’s why God raises churches. Though they often fail, yet I firmly believe God raised the Seventh-day Adventist Church to restore the Sabbath truth. Earnest Bible Study revealed to the early Adventist seekers, that the seventh day is the Sabbath. Divine revelation through E.G.White pointed out that the seventh day was the Sabbath which the English world calls Saturday, and that it is the sign of our worship of the Creator God. The first day, called Sunday, that most of the Christian world was honoring is not God’s Sabbath.

        It seems inconceivable for me to think God called out a people to remember His Sabbath day and then He gave them the wrong date.

        Why do we have to turn to pagan calendars to keep track of God’s seven day week and the sabbath?

        The seven-day week was ordained by God, not paganism. Paganism, as you pointed out, had lots of different time counts. The seven-day week goes back to God’s creation. Pagans either disregarded it altogether or give its days pagan names, but they did not create the seven-day week.

        It wasn’t until Christianity, which has its roots and beginnings in Jewish/Israelite heritage, with the preserved seven-day week became the adopted religion of the leading political power that the seven-day week became the dominant way to keep track of time.

        So the seven-day week we see on modern calendars does not have its roots in paganism. The names are pagan, but not the seven-day week. The calendars are an easy way to keep track of time.

        We use the calendar because it keeps track of the seven-day week for us. I believe God, in His great mercy, gave us the calendar in its present form so everyone COULD know, without excuse, which day is the seventh day.

        If a calendar should be adopted with a ten day week etc. etc it would no longer be clearly mark out. God’s people would have to mark out their own seven day week calendars. But i don’t think this will ever happen. The Vatican and other Christians are too strong in their first day worship.

        Am I correct in saying from your statement: “There was no monthly adjustment to fit any moon phases or anything of that nature”, that the children of Israel used the moon to help them keep track of the seven day week and the sabbath?

        No, the moon has a cycle of 29 and a half days, that is not divisible by seven, thus it will never give a consistent seven day count.

        ..was Saturday July 8, 1982 the seventh day of the week or the first day of the week and was Saturday December 31, 2011, the 7th day of the week or was it the 6th day of the week. Ive written much on this before so I’ll write no more.

        It was Saturday, the Sabbath — both times.
        The only difference was that on Dec 31, 2011 they were among the first on earth’s globe to welcome the Sabbath, while July 1982 they were among the last on the globe to welcome the Sabbath.

        When God’s people are forced to run to the hills and mountains in the time of trouble, would we be expected to take a copy of the Gregorian, Julian or World calendar?

        Not necessarily, though it would be easier to check off each day as it passes. We would need to be like the sailors of old who would have a stick or something upon which they made a notch each day to indicate another day passed.

        Peace — and Sabbath blessings!

  5. It’s going to be really interesting as truth continues to be revealed, and it is found that the numbered days of scripture are counted by God’s clock and calendar in the heavens, and no other. God’s calendar and clock is spelled out clearly beginning in Genesis, and not by any calendar hanging on the wall. When it is found that there is no record of the keeping a count of a continuous weekly cycle, the arguments favoring the 7th day sabbath occurring every 7th day since creation will be found “weighed in the balances and found wanting.” The discussion in forums such as this will then get highly enlightening. It is, to say the least, an exciting time to live.

    • Malo and kia ora bro/sis, so in your view, is the 7th day Sabbath in Samoa a Saturday or a Sunday? Just not sure of your stance regarding the dilemma presently in Samoa?

    • ST said, “When it is found that there is no record of the keeping a count of a continuous weekly cycle, the arguments favoring the 7th day sabbath occurring every 7th day since creation will be found “weighed in the balances and found wanting.”

      I agree, Adventist preachers made a mistake presenting that idea as evidence for keeping the Sabbath on Saturday. There is abundant evidence without that faulty idea. I think that faulty thinking has been latched onto by Satan and it is now one of the main hindrances to correcting this dilemma in the minds of Adventists in the Pacific! (That combined with the reluctance to challenge leaders).

  6. “It’s going to be really interesting as truth continues to be revealed…”

    These are indeed interesting times, as we see events unfolding. As for new truth being revealed, I believe we can be confident that it will never contradict old truth. It seems to have been fairly well established that our present-day weekly cycle can be traced back to well before the time of Christ’s earthly ministry, and I trust that He knew which day the holy line of patriarchs had been observing as the Sabbath right from Adam on down.

    The need for, and existence of, a day line (known today as the date line) was there from the very beginning. That some people in our day have become confused and slipped into erroneous positions in regard to the date line, in my view, takes absolutely nothing away from the fact that our 7-day weekly cycle has indeed come down to us from Creation Week in an unbroken cycle.

    A few local adjustments here and there — or perhaps even some more extensive developments of the day line, in history — do nothing to break the cycle of our global week.

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