Seventh-Day Adventists/I need a church family
Hello, my name is Joseph. I am a bit discouraged right now, because I can not find a church to attend. So I am writing this to you. I appreciate your time.
I spent my whole childhood raised in a baptist church. Sunday was always a big event every week. After all, it was the Lord's day. Even though the pastors' intentions were good (or so I assume and hope), the sermons were often terrifying! I remember sitting in the front row with my dad and the pastor would scream, "The rich man is burning in hell! The worms are eating him alive!" By the young and tender age of 8, I started having nightmares of dying and going to hell. Life was very confusing for me.
I was always taught, "The Lord gave Moses the law. Then the Lord paid the earth a surprise visit and when He discovered everyone was keeping it, He got mad, called them all vipers and condemned them!" I always thought that was so unfair. If the Lord gave us the law, why did He get so upset when He discovered everyone was keeping it? - It made NO sense.
It was not until later, I discovered Christ was actually upset because the Pharisees were rejecting the commandments of God, as it is written in Mark chapter 7.
Last year, I heard two powerful voices on the internet. One of those voices was a man named Doug Batchelor (Seven-day Adventist). The other was a tall slim figure by the name of David C. Pack (Restored Church of God - a splinter from the Worldwide Church of God).
Between these two teachers of the Bible, for the first time in my life, I finally felt I could understand the Bible. All the preconceived ideas that made me afraid to read the Bible were all gone. Truly, the last year has been the best time of my whole life. At the age of 25, I understand God's true plan of salvation and for the rest of mankind. It all makes so much sense now!
However, between listening to these two voices, a problem has arose. Both men claim to represent the remnant church established by Christ.
I actually contacted the Restored Church of God by phone and I almost joined them. In the end, I decided to put my decision on hold. One reason being, they claim that to preach about Jesus dying for the world's sins is perverting the gospel. They even made the statement, "Here at the Restored Church of God, we do not overly emphasize and talk non-stop about how much we love and adore Jesus Christ."
I attended a local Seven-day Adventist church over the fall. The pastor and teachers were dedicated, and very kind to me. Everyone was so well-mannered, and church service was peaceful and in-order. I ended up visiting with them for a couple weeks and even went to their Bible studies.
Everything was going great, until I walked down the hallway of their church and I seen a graven image of Christ with long hair hanging on the wall. (Exodus 20:4)
Wait a minute, doesn't the Bible say we should not think of the Godhead as art? (Acts 17:29) Doesn't the Bible say it is a shame for a man to have long hair? (1 Corinthians 11:14) If Christ had long hair, why would Judas have kissed Christ as a signal to the Roman guards? Therefore, Christ's hair must have been the same length as the rest of His disciples. Also, Jesus Christ could NOT have been under a Nazarite vow, because those under the Nazarite vow could not drink wine or come near a dead body. (Numbers 6:2-6)
I admit, this shocked me coming from a church that was so dedicated to the Bible, but I over-looked it for the moment. Each time I attended the Seven-day Adventists church, I would always ask a few questions after service as we sat and ate, and then I would politely listen and pay full attention. I would listen to every word they told me, and follow along with them in their Bible as they read and showed me things. It's not like I just went there looking for contradictions! I was visiting them because I was VERY sincere about joining them!
In the end, I have come to the conclusion the Seven-day Adventists can not be the remnant church. Here is why.
Seven-day Adventists teach the weekly Sabbath day has been established for ever. However, if you read Leviticus chapter 23, then you will see God's annual Holy days have also been established for ever, and many of them are also called Sabbath days.
Seven-day Adventists teach the mark of the beast is Sunday-keeping, which involves a national (or worldwide) Sunday law. This is obviously true, however, it is also easy to see how a national law for Christmas and Easter will also come into effect!
Exodus 13:5-9 reveals that keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread is a sign on your hand and in-between your eyes! So if Sunday keeping is the mark, then Christmas and Easter celebrating is the part of the mark, too!
Paul and Luke were still keeping the Days of Unleavened Bread even in a gentile nation, and after the resurrection of Christ. (Acts 20:6) They clearly understood the importance of them. In fact, all those who do not keep the Feast of Tabernacles when Christ returns will be in trouble! (Zechariah 14)
Pass Over - Celebrates accepting the blood of the Lamb.
Days of Unleavened Bread - Pictures the Christian putting the sin out of his life, making sure not to trample Christ under foot.
Pentecost - Pictures the Christian receiving God's Holy Spirit.
Feast of Trumpets - The second return of Christ.
Day of At-one-ment - Satan is bound and the nations become at one with God.
Feast of Tabernacles - Christ and the saints reign on the earth for 1,000 years.
The Last Great Day - All those who were not previously called will be resurrected and the books will be opened unto them.
Christmas and Easter are the counterfeits for God's annual Holy days. They were pagan celebrations, but later altered by the Roman Catholics to represent Christ. Therefore, if the Seven-day Adventists keep these Catholic traditions, does that not make them protestant? Does that not make them one of the harlot's daughters?
I would love to have a church family, but what am I to do? Paul said the members of the church must all be in agreement. (1 Corinthians 1:10) I believe the 1,000 year will be on earth. I believe pictures of Christ with long hair shames the son of God. I believe Christmas and Easter are a part of the mark of the beast.
I just don't know what to do, that's why I'm writing all this. I could join the Restored Church of God. To escape the tribulation, they plan to flee on planes from Judea.
The weekends come up and I see all the families going to church. There are hundreds of churches, so everyone can find the right church for themselves. But where is my church? I just want a church that keeps all the Holy and Sabbath days, rather than the pagan days. Is that too much to ask?
I'm in college and sometimes life is hard, as it can be difficult to stay focused on the commandments of God. I really wish I had a church family that would help and support me, and I could help them in return. More than anything.
I'm glad to visit with you and hope I can encourage you. My first thought is that I sure agree with you about wanting a church family that is a Biblical family, united in their service and commitment to Christ. My second thought is a bit different, I haven't seen that church yet. I've been an Adventist pastor for 30 years and with all that we know about the Bible, we too have challenges in always agreeing. We have healthy disagreements I believe and I am not usually too bothered by that unless we go to an unhealthy level where we start hurting people needlessly because of our disagreements. I wouldn't give much to be part of a church where people couldn't have differing thoughts about some things.
Saying all that makes me want to suggest two different paths for you. One is to continue to work at finding a church where the Feasts are honored or kept. I think there are several churches or denominations that do so. I've baptized a few folks into the Adventist faith who were from Church of God, Seventh-day or from Armstrong's earlier church group. They were lovely and committed folks. They did have some difficulty when they realized that Adventists don't share the same level of value in keeping the feasts as they did. And when they saw birthdays or other holidays celebrated, they found that troubling or offensive. This could be a problem for you as well. If you are sure it will be, than I suggest you look for one of the denominations I described.
If you are willing to consider another path, it would be to take a look at the Feast Days in the Bible and what commitment we should have to them today? I have studied this topic quite a bit, back in the 80's when I had some conflict over it with some folks who felt we should keep them in our church. From my study I have come to appreciate the spirit of the feasts, especially Passover. The question that comes up is about what continues in the New Testament and what changes. This is a Bible study that may not be easy but would probably make a difference in your plans.
Either way, I would do all I can to find a Christ centered church and sermons that find there way to the Cross each week. All power to live our lives comes from Calvary and a church that understands this will have power to change the world. I'll be praying for you and asking God to bless you.