Bible Class Curricula - Denominational Doctrines (Part 1) - Lesson #10 - The Seventh Day Adventist Religion

  1. History of the Seventh Day Adventists
    1. When did this movement start? 1830 (officially 1843–1844)
    2. Where did it start? New York/Maine
    3. Where is their official headquarters? Silver Springs, Maryland1
    4. Who founded this movement? The movement began with William Miller and was later developed and popularized by Ellen G. White.
    5. What is their authority? Adventists affirm:

      The Church Manual has existed in its current format since 1932. It describes the operation and functions of local churches and their relationship to denominational structures in which they hold membership. The Church Manual also expresses the Church’s understanding of Christian life and church governance and discipline based on biblical principles and the authority of duly assembled General Conference sessions. "God has ordained that the representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in a General Conference, shall have authority."—9T 261 [Testimonies, volume 9, page 261].

      … No attempt should be made to set up standards of membership or to make, or attempt to enforce, rules or regulations for local church operations that are contrary to these decisions adopted by the General Conference in session and that are set forth in this Church Manual.2

  2. False Prophecies of Seventh Day Adventists
    1. False prophecies of William Miller
      1. Concerning the end of the world, Miller said:

        I was thus brought, in 1818 , at the close of my two-year study of the Scriptures, to the solemn conclusion, that in about twenty-five years from that time [ 1843 ] all the affairs of our present state would be wound up.3

        (See Deuteronomy 18:22 for information about how to treat a false prophet.)

      2. Coinciding with this prophecy, Miller further said that during the Jewish year running from March 21, 1843 , to March 21, 1844 , Christ would return.4 (See Deuteronomy 18:22 for information about how to treat a false prophet.)
      3. When these prophecies failed, Miller stated,

        Were I to live my life over again, with the same evidence that I then had, to be honest with God and man, I should have to do as I have done. … I confess my error, and acknowledge my disappointment; yet I still believe that the day of the Lord is near, even at the door.5

        (See Deuteronomy 18:22 for information about how to treat a false prophet.)

    2. False prophecies of Ellen G. White
      1. On April 7, 1847 , Ellen White allegedly had a vision where she was taken into the holy of holies and saw the Ark of the Covenant and the Ten Commandments, with a "halo of glory" around the Sabbath commandment.6
      2. Concerning Miller’s chart about the end of the world, Ellen White said, "I have seen that the 1843 chart (Wm. Miller’s) was directed by the hand of the Lord and that it should not be altered, that the figures were as he wanted them."7 (See Deuteronomy 18:22 for information about how to treat a false prophet.)
      3. Ellen G. White prophesied the world would end in 1843 , 1844 , 1845 , and 1851 . She wrote, "Now ( 1851 ) time is almost finished, and what we have been 6 years in learning they will have to learn in months."8 (See Deuteronomy 18:22 for information about how to treat a false prophet.)
    3. Some of the more far-fetched prophecies of Mrs. White
      1. "Cheese should never be introduced into the stomach."9
      2. "Thousands have been induced to enlist with the understanding that this war is to exterminate slavery, but now that they are fixed, they find that they have been deceived, that the object of this war is not to abolish slavery, but to preserve it."10
      3. "Eggs should not be placed upon your table. They are an injury to your children."11
      4. "We bare positive testimony against tobacco, rich cakes, spirituous liquors, snuff, tea, coffee, flesh meats, butter, spice, mince pies … "12
    4. The little “White Lie”
      1. Walter Rea did considerable research for his book, The White Lie, and provided documentation to show that Ellen G. White was actually plagiarizing much of her writing from her husband who, in turn, had plagiarized verbatim from a book written by J.N. Andrews.13
      2. A detailed discussion of this matter can also be obtained from The Interactive Bible.14
  3. Doctrines of the Seventh Day Adventists
    1. The Sabbath
      1. One of the main doctrines of this group is Sabbath keeping. Concerning Sabbath keeping, the Seventh Day Adventist Church Manual says:

        The beneficent Creator, after the six days of Creation, rested on the seventh day and instituted the Sabbath for all people as a memorial of Creation. The fourth commandment of God’s unchangeable law requires the observance of this seventh-day Sabbath as the day of rest, worship, and ministry in harmony with the teaching and practice of Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a day of delightful communion with God and one another. It is a symbol of our redemption in Christ, a sign of our sanctification, a token of our allegiance, and a foretaste of our eternal future in God’s kingdom. The Sabbath is God’s perpetual sign of His eternal covenant between Him and His people. Joyful observance of this holy time from evening to evening, sunset to sunset, is a celebration of God’s creative and redemptive acts.15

      2. What does the Bible teach about the Sabbath?
        1. Sabbath keeping was not a command of creation for all people. It was a command that started with the Law of Moses and was given only to the Jews (Exodus 20:8; Exodus 31:12ff; Nehemiah 9:14; Psalm 147:19-20; Deuteronomy 5:3-6).
        2. The Sabbath was done away with at the cross of Christ (Ephesians 2:14ff; Colossians 2:14ff; Romans 7:1ff.).
        3. Jews cannot condemn Christians for not keeping the Sabbath (Colossians 2:16-17).
        4. The Christian day of worship is the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; Acts 20:7).
    2. The Old Law
      1. Adventists believe, "The great principles of God’s law are embodied in the Ten Commandments and exemplified in the life of Christ. They express God’s love, will, and purposes concerning human conduct and relationships and are binding upon all people in every age."16
      2. What does the Bible teach about the Old Law? The Old Testament Law is not binding on Christians today.
        1. The Ceremonial Law of Moses and the Moral Law of God are the same (Ezra 7:6, 12; Luke 2:22-24).
        2. The Law itself prophesied that it would be replaced by a "new covenant" (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
        3. The Law (including the Ten Commandments) was nailed to the cross (Romans 7:1ff., esp. vs. 7: "The Law that said, "You shall not Covet," is dead"; Ephesians 2:14; Colossians 2:14).
        4. By the time of the writing of the Book of Hebrews, the Old Law was obsolete and ready to vanish away (Hebrews 8:13).
    3. Hell
      1. Adventists claim that Hell, as a place of eternal torment, is a myth: "The finally impenitent, including Satan, the author of sin, will, by the fires of the last day, be reduced to a state of non-existence, becoming as though they had not been, thus purging God’s universe of sinners."17
      2. What does the Bible say about Hell?
        1. There is something worse than death or annihilation (Hebrews 10:27-29).
        2. Hell is just as eternal as the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 9:14; Mark 9:44).
        3. People who die do continue to exist beyond this life (Mark 12:26; Luke 16:19-31).
    4. The Plan of Salvation
      1. Concerning the plan of salvation, Adventists teach:

        Led by the Holy Spirit we sense our need, acknowledge our sinfulness, repent of our transgressions, and exercise faith in Jesus as Lord and Christ, as Substitute and Example. This faith which receives salvation comes through the divine power of the Word and is the gift of God’s grace.18

      2. The biblical plan of salvation is more than what Adventists teach. The Bible teaches that to be saved, one must believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of past sins (Luke 13:3), confess the Lord before men (Romans 10:10), and be baptized for the remission of one’s sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38).
    5. Mankind’s Sin
      1. Adventists take a Calvinistic view of the nature of man by saying:

        When our first parents disobeyed God, they denied their dependence upon Him and fell from their high position under God. The image of God in them was marred and they became subject to death. Their descendants share this fallen nature and its consequences. They are born with weaknesses and tendencies to evil.19

      2. The Bible teaches that God made man upright and that we each choose the path of sin (Ecclesiastes 7:29; Genesis 1:26; Ezekiel 18:20; 28:12, 15; Romans 5:12).
    6. Foot Washing
      1. Adventists suggest that foot washing is an ordained command of God for the church today. The Seventh Day Adventist Church Manual says, "The Master ordained the service of foot-washing to signify renewed cleansing, to express a willingness to serve one another in Christlike humility, and to unite our hearts in love."20
      2. Foot washing in the Bible was done on an individual level and was never commanded by God for the church (John 13:14-15).

Study Questions

  1. Compare the origin (date, time, place, founder) of the Seventh Day Adventist religion with the New Testament blueprint. Do the two match?
  2. Where in the Bible did God ordain that representatives of His church from all parts of the earth, when assembled in General Conference, shall have authority?
  3. List two of William Miller’s false prophecies. If a prophet even lies one time, what does Deuteronomy 18:22 say about that person?
  4. List two of Ellen G. White false prophecies. If a prophet even lies one time, what does Deuteronomy 18:22 say about that person? If Ellen White is known to be a liar and a false prophet, what does that say about the religion she founded?
  5. What passages teach Christians are no longer under the Sabbath?
  6. One of the claims Seventh Day Adventist make about God’s law is that the Ceremonial Law and the 10 Commandment Law were not the same. The Ceremonial Law was done away with – not the 10 Commandments. What passages show these laws are one and the same?
  7. Seventh Day Adventists believe that Hell is not a real place. Rather, the wicked will be annihilated or cease to exist. What passages prove that Hell is a real place where people will suffer for eternity?
  8. What do these religious people believe one must do to be saved? Is that in accord with what the Scriptures teach?
  9. List and discuss three passages that teach man is not born in sin.
  10. Is foot washing a command/act of worship for the church today?
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