Seventh-Day Adventists/SDA Beliefs
An SDA I know says 1) that the Ten Commandments were the Law that Adam & Eve transgressed. 2) that the Ten Commandments represent the character of God. 3) that we Christians are “Israel” and so we must keep the Ten Commandments especially the Sabbath.
Did you believe these things as an SDA? How did you justify these beliefs? Can they be found in the Bible? Do you still believe them?
Thanks for your help.
Thank you so much for your questions.
It is true that SDAs teach that the Ten Commandments were effective in Eden, that they represent God's character and that Christians are now Israel. However, these teachings are not supported by the Bible. I will address them point by point:
1. Did Adam and Even transgress the Ten Commandments?
The answer is no. The only commandment that Adam and Eve broke was the command not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The Bible affirms this in Genesis 2:16-17 (KJV):
16 And the LORD God commanded the man
, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it
: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Ellen White, the SDA prophetess, contradicts the Bible as she writes in The Story of Redemption, Page 145....
"The law of God existed before man was created
. The angels were governed by it. Satan fell because he transgressed the principles of God’s government. After Adam and Eve were created, God made known to them His law. It was not then written, but was rehearsed to them by Jehovah."
Where in the Bible is the above quote corroborated? I don't know.
The Bible also plainly says that before the law was given, sin was in the world.
Romans 5:13 (NIV)
13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.
2. Are the Ten Commandments a representation of God's character?
The definition of char·ac·ter from Dictionary.com:
the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.
2. one such feature or trait; characteristic.
I don't see how the Ten Commandments reveal God's character. The Ten Commandments are ten commands of shall and shall nots based ON love. As shown in the definition, character is a feature, trait, quality, etc. of a person. God IS love, God IS holy, God IS faithful, etc. but these godly characteristics are not mentioned in the Ten Commandments.
Following is a great link sharing the character of God: http://www.openbible.info/topics/character_of_god
SDAs believe that the Ten Commandments represent the character of God because their prophetess Ellen G. White says so in The Upward Look, Page 347. Mrs. White writes...
"God’s character is expressed in the Ten Commandments. To know God as He is — this is the science of all goodness and truth and righteousness. We must obey every expression of His character as revealed in His law."
3. Are Christians Israel?
Christians are comprised of believing Jews and Gentiles and are known as the church. Israel remains a nation and is different from the church. SDAs believe that when Jesus died on the Cross, Israel as a nation was no more. Following is information regarding the same that's taken from "40 Bible Supported Reasons Why You Should Not Be A Seventh-day Adventist". This is reason #24:
The S.D.A.'s Teach that They, as a Denomination, Are "Numbered With Israel"... "the Representatives of Heaven that Make Up the True Church of Christ"!
In the book, "Ministry of Healing," p. 405 (edition of 1909), Mrs. White says: "We[or Seventh-day Adventists] are numbered with Israel. All the instruction given to the Israelites of old ... , all the promises of blessings through obedience, are for us." And in the book, "Prophets and Kings," p. 74 (edition of 1917) , Mrs. White says: "Wherein they [Israel of old]were weak, even to the point of failure, the Israel ol God today I that is, the Seventh-day Adventists] , the representatives of heaven that make up the true church of Christ, must be strong; for upon them devolves the task of finishing the work that has been committed to man, and of ushering in the day of final awards." (See, also, numerous similar statements to be found throughout the published works of Mrs. White.)
The BIBLE teaches
1. that Israel,-the natural "seed of Abraham ," and the Church,- the Spirit-begotten "body of
Christ," are wholly distinct one from the other;
Gen. 15:1-5; 17:1-8. . . . John 3:3-6; 1:11-13; I Cor. 12:12-27; 10:32.
2. that Israel, as a nation, was chosen of God to be His earthly people, while the Church,-the New Testament ecclesia, or His "called-out" ones from among both Jews and Gentiles, have their "citizenship [their promised place of eternal residence and never-to-end privileges] in heaven."
Gen. 13:14-17; 15:7, 18; 17:6-8.... Acts 15:13, 14; Eph. 2:11-22; 3:1-12; Gal. 3:26-28; Phil. 3:20, R.V.; Eph. 1:3-6; John 14:1-3; 17:16, 24.
See NOTES: One of the chief causes for the appalling, Gospel-hindering confusion and disunion which today exists within the ranks of professing Christians, is the error which the Seventh-day Adventists, as well as other misguided religious groups, cherish. and are so prominently active in propagating - that is, the theory that large portions of the Word of God which, quite indisputably, are exclusively Jewish both in meaning and application, have reference to themselves. Writing in this connection, and with particular regard to the solemn truth brought to light in Rev. 3:9, another says:-
"In their ignorance [of basic dispensational truth] these teachers give up the true Christian position, claiming to be Israel, appropriating to themselves Jewish promises and Jewish hopes; and would put the consciences of Christians under the bondage of Old Covenant legalism, thus doing Satan's work. The day will come when those who 'say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie,' will have to worship before the feet of those who constitute the true Church, and shall know that Christ has loved them."
Reason #26 states: ". When Christ should hang upon the cross of Calvary, Israel's day as a nation [favored and blessed of God would be ended." And in the book, "Early Writings of Mrs. White," p. 213 (edition of 1916), Mrs. White says: "I saw that God had forsaken the Jews as a nation; ... the prophecy concerning them has been fulfilled."
The Bible plainly states otherwise.
4. Are we to keep the Ten Commandments and especially the Sabbath?
The answer is no! The law, which included the Ten Commamdments, was given 430 after Abraham and was given to Israel only. Furthermore the entire law was nailed to the Cross and was never applicable to Gentiles.
Romans 2:14 (NIV)
14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law,
do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law,
Now, getting back to the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:1-17 plainly reads....
Exodus 20:1-3 (KJV)
1 And God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me....
Israel was in bondage to the Egyptians (Gentiles). When God delivered them, He made them His treasured possession and He gave them the law (Torah - 613 laws including the Ten). God made a covenant with Israel and Israel alone. The condition
of the covenant with Israel was obedience. The sign
of the covenant with Israel was the Sabbath.
Exodus 19:4-6 (NIV)
4 'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself.
5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant
, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.
Although the whole earth is mine,
6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites."
Exodus 31:15-18 (KJV)
15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever:
for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
18 And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
SDAs also place emphasis on the word "Remember" in "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." in Exodus 20:8. I have never heard them place emphasis on the word "Remember" in Deut. 5:12-15, when the Ten Commandments are repeated:
Deuteronomy 5:12-15 (NIV)
12 "Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you.
13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do.
15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.
The Sabbath was a shadow of the reality to come, Who was Christ. A Person is our Sabbath rest -- not a day!
Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV)
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
To conclude, yes, I did believe the above when I was an SDA. I was brought into the church at the tender age of 6 and I attended their schools. I felt no reason to believe otherwise since Scripture was being quoted. I did not realize the value of context and that the Bible is for everyone but not everything in the Bible applies to everyone. Context! Context! Context!
No, I no longer hold on to my former beliefs because when Scripture is read in context, I now know that I am not part of Israel; the law never applied to me (a Gentile); the Sabbath was never given to me and God's character is described throughout the Bible. I discovered that I was believing the word of Ellen White and her interpretation of the Bible instead of what the Bible actually said.
I do hope this answer has been helpful. Be blessed!