Seventh-Day Adventists/sabbath/mark of the beast.
Dear Patricia Allen, I joined the SDA church after hearing their teachings, but I feel I am confused over the whole thing. somethings seem so correct, but in the church it feels so cold and just a bunch of followers of the law or else. I cannot justify vegetarianism at all when I read the word of God. However after hearing their doctrine it becomes very hard to deal with the sabbath issue and the mark of the beast issues. The mark of the beast seem so convincing. I have found the churches I attended brfore the SDA, which are sunday churches are far more real and loving and Christ focused. All I ever hear about in the SDA churches here is about the sabbath and ellen g. white. I am so frustrated. Please, how are you able to be outside the church without worrying about breaking the sabbath and the mark of the beast without the fear of hell?
Thank you so much for your comments and question.
I am so sorry that you have lost your joy!
I can relate to your feelings of confusion and I promise you it will not get better. The SDA church is built on confusion and deception and most of its members are not aware of it. SDAs talk like mainstream Christians but the same words have different meanings. For instance, I am sure they taught you that we are saved by grace through faith but when you got on the 'inside' you discovered that Sabbath keeping is a must with its long list of what you can and cannot do on the Sabbath, etc. They have added an addendum to salvation which is keeping the Sabbath, so in essence, they are really saying, "We are saved by grace through faith plus Sabbath keeping, etc." Born again believers believe that we are saved by grace through faith PLUS nothing else and that we are not saved by being a Sabbath keeper, a vegetarian, by not wearing jewelry and the list will go on and on.....
As you have discovered, you will not be able to justify vegetarianism from the Bible. According to Ellen White, their health message (not eating pork, meat or their products, etc.) is the right arm of the gospel. The Bible plainly says:
Mark 7:17-19 (NIV)
17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable.
18 "Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'?
19 For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean
However after hearing their doctrine it becomes very hard to deal with the sabbath issue and the mark of the beast issues.
Regarding the Sabbath: What you have to understand is that the SDA church operates under the Old Covenant given to Israel. They believe that they have replaced ancient Israel and that it is their job to succeed where ancient Israel failed in law keeping. The Ten Commandments and the Sabbath are their main focus.
According to the Bible, the Ten Commandments are the words of the covenant between God and Israel
. It was like the legal contract which represented all 613 laws given to Israel from Mt. Sinai. This is why the Ten Commandments were placed in the Ark of the Covenant BECAUSE it was the covenant.
Exodus 34:28 (KJV)
And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
The Sabbath (I believe) is talked about and defended more than anything else. All they talk about and lift up is the Sabbath as you have also observed. They lift it so high and defend it so vigorously that it is surprising to me that their prophetess, Ellen G. White, said that you cannot find a command in the New Testament for Sabbath keeping; YET she claims that one has to be a Sabbath keeper before going to heaven.
"The New Testament does not re-enact the law of the tithe, as it does not that of the Sabbath; for the validity of both is assumed
. —The Faith I Live By, page 244. Taken from the Review & Herald, May 16, 1882 par. 29.
So the SDA church is built on assumptions? Their prophetess who vehemently says the Sabbath has to be kept also says that the command to keep it is not found in the New Testament. She also says the following:
"I saw that the holy Sabbath is, and will be, the separating wall between the true Israel of God and unbelievers; and that the Sabbath is the great question to unite the hearts of God's dear, waiting saints." Ellen G. White, Early Writings, p. 33.
"Thus the distinction is drawn between the loyal and the disloyal. Those who desire to have the seal of God in their foreheads must keep the Sabbath of the fourth commandment
. Thus they are distinguished from the disloyal, who have accepted a manmade institution in place of the true Sabbath. The observance of God's rest day is a mark of distinction between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not." Ellen White, Review & Herald, April 23, 1901.
Mrs. White also wrote the following: "The sign, or seal, of God is revealed in the observance of the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord's memorial of creation" (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 117). Also: "...Too late they see that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is the seal of the living God" (The Great Controversy, p. 640).
This is their basic teaching about the Sabbath and the mark of the beast. Sabbath keepers (loyal) have the seal of God, which they claim is the observance of the Sabbath. Unbelievers or the disloyal will have the mark of the beast which they define as Sunday worshipers. You will not find this teaching in your Bible because this is all Ellen White. I still wonder why they confine the mark of the beast to Sunday worshipers and not other non-Sabbath keeping churches.
A sign and a seal are two different things and are not used interchangeably. According to the Bible, the Sabbath was a SIGN of God's covenant with Israel and the Holy Spirit is the SEAL on believers.
Exodus 31:16-17 (NIV)
16 The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath
, celebrating it for the generations to come as a lasting covenant.
17 It will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever
, for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he abstained from work and rested.'"
Gentiles were not included in this Old Covenant agreement between God and Israel. Adventists are claiming Israel's promises because they say they are modern Israel.
Ephesians 2:11-13 (NIV)
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)--
12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
Now let's see what the Bible says the seal of God really is:
Ephesians 1:13-14 (NIV)
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit
14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.
The Holy Spirit is the seal of God, not the Sabbath!
I have found the churches I attended before the SDA, which are sunday churches are far more real and loving and Christ focused.
I totally agree with your findings. One of the biggest complaints in and about the SDA church is its coldness and/or lack of love. I believe it is because their real focus is on themselves, their behavior and trying to be perfect by keeping the law. They are too busy trying to save themselves and have no time for what they have really been commanded to do -- love others. They will deny this but it is the truth in reality and experience.
Other Christians and more specifically those that I have the privilege to worship with on Sundays are very loving and happy. We are secure in our salvation. We believe that our Shepherd has the ability to keep us and no one can snatch us out of His hands. We believe that we are saved by grace through faith plus nothing else. We believe that the Spirit is capable of leading, guiding and empowering us to do His will. We have discovered that because He has done so much for us, we want to be obedient to His will in our lives - not that we could ever do anything to repay Him. We also understand and believe that as born again believers, we are not under the law, therefore we are not under condemnation. How can we not be happy? We are finding joy in a relationship with Jesus and not the man made do's and don'ts of religion and tradition..
I don't fear hell because I find my rest and security in Jesus every day. It's ALL about Him and not a day. A day cannot save me. We have been given the freedom to congregate with the saints on any day but we should find rest in Him every day.
Romans 14:5-6 (NIV)
5 One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind
6 He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.
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.
The Sabbath was fulfilled in Jesus.
Colossians 2:16-17 (NIV)
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day
17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ
I believe the Spirit is trying to restore your joy by encouraging you to reach out and study some more. Seventh-day Adventists are Old Covenant. After the cross, we are under a New and better Covenant. Seventh-day Adventists will continue to defend the Sabbath because they are identified as Sabbath keepers in their name and have to. I sincerely believe that a lot of Adventists would leave the church because they no longer believe a lot of what the church teaches BUT they are afraid of leaving the Sabbath because they would be considered lost. I quote:
"The visions given to Ellen White at the outset of her mission brought the importance of the seventh-day Sabbath prominently into view as the testing truth
, which in the last days would divide the inhabitants of the earth into two classes—those who obey God and will be eternally saved and those who reject his law and will be eternally lost. The attitude of the individual toward the seventh-day Sabbath would be the determining factor
." —Selected Messages, Book 3 (1980), page 380, paragraph 2, Chapter Title: Lessons From Meeting the Sunday Law Crisis of the Late 1880's and Early 1890's.
Going to church on Saturday is not a sin because as shown earlier we are free to choose any day. The danger is when the day is made a prerequisite for salvation, which SDAs believe.
Joy, I hope this response has been insightful enough to cause you to want to continue your search for truth. I would love to communicate with you again. My sincere prayer is that you will find your joy in a relationship with Jesus and not by trying to keep a list of do's and don't imposed on you by religion and "another" gospel, which really isn't a gospel. Why not re-read the book of Galatians? It's one of my all time favorites regarding the freedom we have in Jesus. I have absolutely no regrets and I am happier than I have ever been in my life!