A False Issue – The Day-line
(From Signs of the Times, Warburton, Victoria, Nov 26, 1906. High-lighting added by editor.)
IN the year 1844 a movement denominated the “third angel’s message,” took its rise. Commencing in a small way, it has at the present time assumed world-wide dimensions. It has for its object the proclamation of solemn and important truths to the last generation of mankind. It foretells the speedy advent of Christ, and the end of the world. It also brings to view a reform relating to the commandments of God. It is based upon clear and unmistakable prophecies found in Dan. 7:25, Rev. 14:9,12, etc., and it constitutes the last heaven-sent message of mercy to the world. It is not surprising, therefore, if from time to time the enemy should endeavour to confuse and mislead those who embrace this message by originating some false movement, some schismatic teaching, which, while having a semblance of truth, will be solely intended to obscure the real issue, and seduce the unwary. An examination of the history of the advent movement reveals that this is the case. Men have arisen claiming to have some special light, which, upon careful investigation, has proved to be false light. See 2 Cor. 11:13-15. Their minds were illuminated by nothing more than sparks of their own kindling.
One of the latest theories, which has for its ultimate object, although not for its ostensible object, the subverting of the distinct truths of the “message,” is that which has been termed the Eden Day-line.” The advocates of this theory have appeared at different places preaching and circulating literature upon the subject amongst Seventh-day Adventists, for whose special consideration the whole question is intended. This being the case, it will be interesting and advisable to give the matter that rigid scrutiny that in times of crisis is demanded in order to determine whether it is a friend or foe, to determine whether, in spite of its plausible exterior, this new dogma does not conceal at its heart a deadly error, calculated to neutralise the entire force of the harmonious system of truth which Adventists hold so dear. The question has been presented to the denomination before, and has been ably dealt with in pamphlet form, and every position taken by the Eden day-line adherents has been fully met and refuted. But they are persistent, and because the question is somewhat technical and intricate, it can thus be readily manipulated to disturb the minds of those who do not trouble to reason deeply upon the subject. We understand another attempt is about to be made to unsettle the minds of our people upon this matter. It is therefore advisable that every one should fortify himself by obtaining a clear view of what is involved in this question, and also with a satisfactory argument with which to refute the error. We cannot conceive that God will leave His people to be confronted with an error for which there is not a simple solution, suitable for the defence and protection of every believing soul.
Before attempting to refute this erroneous theory it may be advisable first to give a brief outline of the position taken by those who defend the Eden day-line hypothesis. There is a place upon the globe, recognised by scientists, at which the day begins, and from which it travels around the earth from east to west, and in twenty-four hours finishes at the same place. That circuit constitutes a day consisting of darkness and light. “And the evening and the morning was the first day.” Gen. 1 : 6. The point at which the day commences and ends is marked by an imaginary line drawn from pole to pole at the one hundred and eightieth meridian, running almost through the centre of the Pacific Ocean. To the left of this line, on the eastern shores of Asia and Australia, the people are a day ahead of the people on the right side of the line, on the western shores of the Americas. That is, the Sabbath comes to the people in Melbourne and on the east coast of Australia about eighteen hours before it reaches the people in San Francisco, on the west coast of America. The people inhabiting these two cities live, roughly speaking, about 2,500 miles from the line, east and west. They really face each other across the line at a distance of about 5,000 miles. It will be seen, then, that when any one crosses this line on shipboard from America to Asia, west to east, he will find himself a day behind the people in Asia. That is, his Saturday will be their Sunday. On the other hand, if an individual crosses the line from east to west, from Asia to America he will find himself a day ahead. His Sunday will be their Saturday. This brings confusion, which is obviated by the simple method of observing a natural law, by changing the day at the crossing of the one hundred and eightieth meridian, or day-line.
It will be seen that if the day-line was to be moved from its position in the Pacific, where it divides two great continents, and was to be placed to the west of Asia and Australia, that would bring the count of days in those lands almost the same as in America. The Australians and the Asiatics would need to call their Sunday Saturday. This is exactly what the Eden day-line advocates are agitating for. They claim to be able to locate approximately the spot where the garden of Eden was situated on the earth. This spot, they say, is in Armenia, about 8,000 miles to the east of the present day-line. Here they locate the initial day-line, because they claim the first day started out from that particular spot on its circuit around the earth, consequently the first Sabbath originated here, and from this locality all succeeding Sabbaths must be dated, thus throwing the count of days one day back in Australia, making Sunday the seventh-day Sabbath.
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.
That this latter-day delusion is absolutely without foundation, and has no claim upon the serious attention of God’s people is shown as follows: In Amos 3:7 this important statement is made, ” Surely the Lord God will do nothing but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets,” Taking this as the basis of our investigations into this theory, what do we find ?—We find that its advocates point to it as a later development of the message intended to sift the wheat from the chaff. If this is so, then we have a right to ask for its scriptural credentials. The message itself is based upon the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. But for these prophecies no such movement would or could exist. This is quite in accordance with Amos 3:7. This movement has been revealed to His servants the prophets, Daniel and John. We now ask any advocate of the Eden day-line to point to one prophet who has had a revelation upon the subject, or to show one passage of scripture that even remotely alludes to this latest phase which they advocate. We have a right to ask for definite, plain prophecies in accordance with Amos 3:7. Not one can be found from Genesis to Revelation. Thus the whole theory stands unmasked as a latter-day delusion devised for the purpose of leading away from the great issue, “If any man worship the beast or his image,” etc. The Romish element is indispensable to the last message, it is the crux of the movement. The Eden day-line, technical, intricate, and obscure, knows nothing of this element, and need not occasion any conscientious concern to a single soul. In this last great closing’ movement the issue is clear-cut—the beast and his image or the commandments of God. All that needs to be decided in any locality is, Which day does Rome honour as a sabbath? The answer is invariably, ” Sunday.” Then, in order to embrace the third angel’s message, loyalty to God calls upon us to keep the day which precedes the Roman festival, that is, Saturday. The question of exactness as to the place of the beginning and ending of the first day is a totally distinct question which has never been raised by divine authority nor introduced by Scripture. The present condition of things concerning the days of the week is accepted and recognised by all properly constituted authorities, and under this condition of affairs the issue can be clearly ascertained and decided, which is, God or Rome?” “first day or seventh day?” Keep the day immediately preceding that one which Rome honours, and you are safe in this matter.
By T. Whittle
First published in Signs of the Times, Warburton, Victoria, Nov 26, 1906. Also see “The Eden Day-line Theory” published in the Bible Echo in 1901. See other issues of the Bible Echo and Signs of the Times in the Adventist Archives.
This article from the 1906 issue of the Signs of the Times gives some indication of how persistent the agitation over the “Eden Day-line” was in our history. The first published reference to it of which we are aware was in a letter by Ellen White in 1900, as published in Selected Messages, Vol III. And here we see another article published in 1906!
This day line theory served to bring in confusion, adding to the confusion regarding the actual date line in places such as Tonga, where not only Seventh-day Adventists but other denominations as well were confused over which week to follow.
So what is the lesson for us today?
This idea is one I had not been aware of this till now.
Wow! Guess Satan,the self-styled god, is up to scheme
of last day deceptions to deceive, if possible, the very
elect! Let’s not fall for his tricks.
Praise the Great Name of JESUS CHRIST, this site must be made easily available to all, especially in the Pacific Island region, as many have been confused by the changes in time zones. I can only say, stay True to the Name of the day for it signifies Whom we worship. The devil always use ‘technical wordings’, we just need to pray and ask the LORD GOD All Knowing GOD. Amen.
Interesting comment from Matt Rosenberg, the geographer at About.com (the learning website).
“As a geographer who respects history and the calendar, I find the move by the SDA to Sunday to be somewhat historically unprecedented.”
It looks as if Matt Rosenberg edited the comment out. Given the name I assume he is Jewish which may make his comments quite relevant to this discussion.
Matt Rosenberg does not appear to believe that the weekly cycle has been kept unbroken since Creation Week, nor that the Saturday of today is the 7th day of creation. I would take serious issue with that. God has always had His commandment-keeping people throughout the world’s history, and we have not lost track of which day is the Sabbath. In my view, it’s when we start demanding an unbroken personal or national cycle, under any and all circumstances, that we involve ourselves in difficulty.
God made His Sabbath for a round world, so travel across the date line, and its location being adjusted from time to time — with the necessary adjustments to be made by Sabbath keepers — were evidently a part of His plan from the beginning.
Just letting people know MR had apparently changed his original thought…and later realized that he probably isn’t Jewish.
R.G. White, Evening and Morning was the 7th. day, and not Evening and Morning was Saturday. Saturday keepers are doing it from Evening to Evening which explains the darkness hovering over deeper and deeper into permanent lost. Let us humble ourselves and be saved.
Asoleiuga Faatiu ILaoa wrote:
“Evening and Morning was the 7th day, and not Evening and Morning was Saturday.”
Seeing we are using the English language, there is no difference. Saturday is the 7th day by definition. Any other interpretation is a deception. We trust that the Lord will protect the humble from being deceived.
Forget the “day line”, God gave the Sabbath to the Jewish people and the world has not lost rack of the seventh day. When Israel keeps the Sabbath is the seventh day. and just follow on from there to each and every country on the globe and keep the Seventh Day Sabbath when it comes to you, “from even to even” and delete the day line, it really does not exist !
Thank you for that. I agree, and this is what I was tought as I first became Aventist. I also remember being tought that not only to “expect” these sort of issues to arise, even from within our own church, but to keep your eyes on Jesus as these “issues” are Satan’s devices to distract us from what’s really important and to cause strife amongst God’s people. Let’s pray that we all won’t let him distract us.
Saturday is the Sabbath Day whether the time changes from different places. However,we should humble ourselves and worship Lord God rather than worshipping the day.
I have only become aware of the Eden Day line theory as a result of the Samoan Sabbath Dilemma. This dilemma has raised the real issue of the need for a formal church position on the Sabbath Date line which is consistent with biblical teaching. The true Sabbath should not be reckoned from the day before the day that Rome keeps but from sunset Preparation Day to Sunset Sabbath day as revealed to the people of Israel while they were on the journey from Egypt to the promised land. The reference is not the arbitrary decisions of Rome but the revelation from God. We therefore must keep the Sabbath as kept by the Jewish people in the Middle East. However unlike the advocates of the erroneous Eden Day line theory we simply recognise the Middle Eastern Sabbath as the Central Sabbath Time Zone which it is. Halfway across the earth from this time zone is the Sabbath Date line. That means over the present day 150 deg line over the Pacific Ocean. This is approximately two time zones east of the current International Date Line. The Eden Day line is in fact supposed to be the Prime Sabbath meridian in contrast to the Universal Standard Time meridian over Greenwich in Englamd.
Dear Simba! You have it right! The correct date line should be adjusted according to the calculated geographical place of Eden. And then it actually would come in a a very good place. All the Pacific islands would have the same day and American continent another. The line could be close to Pitcairn island. The present date-line is an artificial one and creates a lot of confusion in the minds of those who understand the issue and want to be conscientious in Sabbath keeping.
Simba, your idea is very similar to the Eden Day Line theory. You just want to dray the dateline at a different spot.
If it were as simple as you suggest, I suspect that world powers would have figured it out long ago. No straight line of longitude is going to satisfactory as a date line. And it just takes a cursory look at a globe to determine that a 150-degree date line would create more problems than the current one.
The reality is that we have no control over the date line, and the seventh-day Sabbath is a social as well as a divine institution. It was created as a day to be in special fellowship with the Creator and with one another. And it has always been a sign of distinction for God’s people. Thus it is not possible for God’s Sabbath to be the very same day to which the church of Rome points as evidence of her authority – no matter where on this planet we happen to live.