The Sabbath Debate – Starting/Ending Time

Testimonies Volume One

Chap. 16 – Time to Begin the Sabbath

I saw that it is even so: “From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your Sabbath.” Said the angel: “Take the word of God, read it, understand, and ye cannot err. Read carefully, and ye shall there find what even is, and when it is. I asked the angel if the frown of God had been upon His people for commencing the Sabbath as they had. I was directed back to the first rise of the Sabbath, and followed the people of God up to this time, but did not see that the Lord was displeased, or frowned upon them. I inquired why it had been thus, that at this late day we must change the time of commencing the Sabbath. Said the angel: “Ye shall understand, but not yet, not yet.” Said the angel: “If light come, and that light is set aside or rejected, then comes condemnation and the frown of God; but before the light comes, there is no sin, for there is no light for them to reject.” I saw that it was in the minds of some that the Lord had shown that the Sabbath commenced at six o’clock, when I had only seen that it commenced at “even,” and it was inferred that even was at six. I saw that the servants of God must draw together, press together. (1T 116.1)

Testimonies Volume One, Appendix

PAGE 116, “TIME TO BEGIN THE SABBATH”

FOR A PERIOD OF ABOUT TEN YEARS SABBATHKEEPING ADVENTISTS OBSERVED THE SABBATH FROM 6 P. M. FRIDAY TO 6 P. M. SATURDAY. ELDER JOSEPH BATES IN HIS FIRST PAMPHLET ON THE PERPETUITY OF THE SABBATH OF THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT, PUBLISHED IN 1846, HAD GIVEN REASONS FOR THE SUPPOSED SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT FOR THE OBSERVANCE OF THE SABBATH IN THIS WAY. HE CITED THE PARABLE OF THE LABORERS IN THE VINEYARD, THE LAST GROUP OF WHICH HAD BEEN CALLED AT “THE ELEVENTH HOUR” OF THE DAY AND HAD WROUGHT BUT ONE HOUR. THE RECKONING WAS MADE WITH THEM “WHEN EVEN WAS COME.” MATTHEW 20:6, 8, 12. COMPARING THIS WITH CHRIST’S QUESTION, “ARE THERE NOT TWELVE HOURS IN THE DAY?” HE ARGUED THAT THE “EVEN” BEGAN WITH THE TWELFTH HOUR, OR SIX O’CLOCK, RECKONING WITH EQUATORIAL TIME OR THE BEGINNING OF THE SACRED YEAR. RESPECT FOR HIS YEARS AND EXPERIENCE AND HIS GODLY LIFE MAY HAVE BEEN THE MAIN REASONS FOR ACCEPTING HIS CONCLUSIONS WITHOUT FURTHER INVESTIGATION. (1T 713.2)

AS TIME PASSED AND THE MESSAGE SPREAD, AN INCREASING NUMBER OF SABBATHKEEPERS QUESTIONED THE PRACTICE AND ADVOCATED THE SUNSET TIME FOR RECKONING THE BEGINNING OF THE SABBATH. A THOROUGH BIBLE INVESTIGATION OF THE QUESTION WAS MADE BY ELDER J. N. ANDREWS, WHO WROTE A PAPER SETTING FORTH THE BIBLICAL REASONS IN FAVOR OF THE SUNSET TIME. THIS PAPER WAS INTRODUCED AND DISCUSSED ON SABBATH, NOVEMBER 17, 1855, AT THE CONFERENCE IN BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN, WITH THE RESULT THAT NEARLY, BUT NOT QUITE, ALL PRESENT WERE CONVINCED THAT ELDER ANDREW’S CONCLUSION WAS CORRECT. THE PRESENTATION OF THE SUBJECT TO MRS. WHITE IN THIS VISION, GIVEN TWO DAYS LATER, ANSWERED THE QUESTIONS LINGERING IN SOME MINDS AND EFFECTED UNITY AMONG THE BELIEVERS. COMMENTING ON THIS EXPERIENCE, AS ILLUSTRATING THE OFFICE OF THE VISIONS TO CONFIRM CONCLUSIONS BASED ON BIBLICAL STUDY RATHER THAN TO INTRODUCE NEW TEACHINGS, ELDER JAMES WHITE WROTE LATER: (1T 713.3)

“THE QUESTION NATURALLY ARISES, IF THE VISIONS ARE GIVEN TO CORRECT THE ERRING, WHY DID SHE NOT SOONER SEE THE ERROR OF THE SIX O’CLOCK TIME? I HAVE EVER BEEN THANKFUL THAT GOD CORRECTED THE ERROR IN HIS OWN GOOD TIME, AND DID NOT SUFFER AN UNHAPPY DIVISION TO EXIST AMONG US UPON THIS POINT. BUT, DEAR READER, THE WORK OF THE LORD UPON THIS POINT IS IN PERFECT HARMONY WITH HIS MANIFESTATIONS TO US ON OTHERS, AND IN HARMONY WITH THE CORRECT POSITION UPON SPIRITUAL GIFTS. IT DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE THE DESIRE OF THE LORD TO TEACH HIS PEOPLE BY THE GIFTS OF THE SPIRIT ON THE BIBLE QUESTIONS UNTIL HIS SERVANTS HAVE DILIGENTLY SEARCHED HIS WORD. WHEN THIS WAS DONE UPON THE SUBJECT OF THE TIME TO COMMENCE THE SABBATH, AND MOST WERE ESTABLISHED, AND SOME WERE IN DANGER OF BEING OUT OF HARMONY WITH THE BODY ON THIS SUBJECT, THEN, YES, THEN, WAS THE VERY TIME FOR GOD TO MAGNIFY HIS GOODNESS IN THE MANIFESTATION OF THE GIFT OF HIS SPIRIT IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ITS PROPER WORK.”

–REVIEW AND HERALD, FEB. 25, 1868. (1T 713.4)

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: