The History of Seventh-day Adventism had its beginning with a Baptist "preacher," William Miller, and his (1782-1849) prophecies. Though he had been reared in a religious home, be became a complete skeptic, rejecting the Bible as divine revelation. In 1816, he was converted from his skepticism, and spent the next two years studying the Bible intensively and then began to espouse his own revelations. He then wrote down his conclusions with this statement: "I was thus brought, in 1818, at the close of my two-year study of the Scriptures, to the solemn conclusion, that in about 25 years from that time all the affairs of our present state would be wound up." He believed that the world would come to an end in 1843. He later became a full-time preacher, and specified that the Lord's return would take place some time during the Jewish year running from March 21, 1843 to March 21, 1844.

He arrived at this date from a misunderstanding of the 70 weeks in Daniel 9:24-27. When the designated year arrived and the Lord did not return, there was intense disappointment in the ranks of the so-called Millerites.

In August of 1844, Samuel Snow, one of the Millerite leaders launched the "seventh-month movement." He was convinced that the Lord would come back in the Fall of 1844, and set the date for October 22, 1844. This new movement gained momentum, and before long all the followers of Miller had accepted this re-interpretation including Miller himself Excitement mounted as the day approached, and people gathered in homes and meeting-places to await the Lord's return. When the day came and went without the Lord's coming, the disappointment was overwhelming. This day is usually referred to as the day of "The Great Disappointment." Many now gave up on the "Advent" faith, however some still clung to its teachings.

The movement continued to develop with a group of "Millerite" believers had met in the home of Hiram Edson waiting the October 22, 1844 return of Christ. When this did not take place, the people returned to their homes quite disappointed, but Edson and a few others went to his barn to pray. They prayed until they felt assured that light would be given to them and that their disappointment would be explained. Edson and a companion decided to go comfort the others with the assurance they had just received through prayer. Walking through a corn field next to their farm on their way to their first destination, Edson claims to have received a vision.

In his vision he claims that in the heavenly sanctuary there were two phases to the work of Christ, just as there had been two phases in the sanctuary ministry of the O.T. priests. Instead of Christ's coming out of the holy of holies to this earth, He had simply for the first time passed from the holy place of the heavenly sanctuary into the heavenly holy of holies. So Miller had not been wrong in his calculations, but simply in thinking that the sanctuary which was to be cleansed at the end of the 2300 day period he had calculated from Daniel was to be on earth, and not in heaven. This new revelation would be expanded and explained, and would become the basis of the SDA teaching of the "investigative judgment' doctrine,

Mr. Bates spent 21 years at sea, where he had been converted to Christianity on board ship. After his retirement from the sea, he read an article on the Sabbath and became convinced that the seventh day was the proper Sabbath for Christians to observe. Early in 1846 Bates wrote a 48 page tract entitled The Seventh-day Sabbath, a Perpetual Sign. In it he argued that the seventh-day Sabbath had been prefigured in creation, ordained in Eden, and confirmed at Mount Sinai. In 1847, he wrote a second edition in which he discussed the message of Revelation 14: 6-12. He identified the beast in these verses with the Papacy, and argued that the Papacy had changed the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day. Bates concluded that those who still kept the first day as the Sabbath were worshiping the papal beast and would thus receive his mark. The obedience to God's commandments required by the third angel, Bates continued, was to consist particularly in the observance of the seventh day.

In 1849, Bates issued a second tract entitled A Seal of the Living God. Noting that according to Revelation 7, the servants of God were sealed on their foreheads, Bates concluded that the seventh day Sabbath was the seal of God here spoken of Bates drew the conclusion that the "remnant" who keep the commandments of God would number only 144,000 and were the faithful Adventists.

Thus there was added to the Adventist movement an emphasis on the keeping of the seventh day as the Sabbath. It was now taught by Adventists that the keeping of the seventh day was the seal of God, the characteristic mark of all of God's true children.

Ellen Harmon was born in 1827 in Gorham, Maine. While a child her family moved to Portland, where they were members of a Methodist Church. When Ellen was nine years old, she was struck in the face by a stone, and was unconscious for three weeks. The shock to her nervous system, and the illness which followed continued for years, eventually making her an invalid.

In the early 1840's, William Miller lectured in Portland on the Second Advent. The Harmon family attended these lectures and eventually accepted these teachings. It was after The Great Disappointment in 1844 that Ellen had her first vision. She began a life of public witnessing, counseling, teaching, and writing. She married James White, a young Adventist preacher who had been active in the Millerite movement, in 1846. Soon there was a sizable group of Adventist believers around Portland, Maine who began to recognize Mrs. White as a prophetess and whose visions and dreams were to be followed.

Almost every aspect of the belief and activity of the SDA movement was encouraged or inspired by a vision or word from Mrs. White. The attitude of the SDA church towards Mrs. Ellen is found in the following statement taken from their Articles of Faith -"That the gift of the Spirit of prophecy is one of the identifying marks of the remnant church...We recognize that this gift was manifested in the life and ministry of El/en White."

Charles T. Russell (1852 - 1916) grew up in Pittsburgh and Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Raised a Presbyterian and a devoted Calvinist as a boy, who warned others about hellfire, however as a teenager, Charles and his father joined the Congregationalist church that was far less confrontational. About this time Charles became interested in Adventism, when he failed to defend his beliefs while witnessing to an infidel. He had for sometime lost faith in the Bible, but continued in his search for "truth."

From 1869 until 1879 he was an avid Adventist. This no hell, soul sleep religion was just where Charles felt the "truth" must of been all along. The co-authored one book with Dr. Nelson Barbour entitled, "The Three Worlds." He also was the editor of Barbour's Adventist paper called, "Harald of the Morning." When Russell and Barbour split in 1879, Russell renamed the magazine, "Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence." This publication was later changed to what is known today as, "The Watchtower."

THE Seventh-Day Adventist CHURCH
These different groups fused to form the present day SDA denomination. The teachings developed by these earlier groups (the Sabbath, the sanctuary cleansing, and the spirit of prophecy) formed the basis for the emergence of the theological system known as the SDA. The official date of organization is listed as 1863.


A basic doctrine of the SDA's is the teaching that Christ, as part of His atoning work, has been conducting as "investigative judgment" in the heavenly sanctuary since 1844. This doctrine was formulated after Christ failed to return, as had been predicted, on October 22, 1844. Remember it was Hiram Edson who supposedly had a vision that revealed Christ, our High Priest, instead of coming out of the Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary to come to this earth, had for the first time entered into the Holy of Holies in the heavenly sanctuary.

To claim that Christ is presently doing something to complete His work of redemption is to disregard the words He uttered from the cross: "It is finished" (John 19:30). Hebrews 10:12 clearly indicates that the atoning work of Christ has been completed on the cross, and nothing needs to be added to it.

It is scriptural to state that a person must place his faith in Christ for the forgiveness of his sin, but it is not correct to say that one who still has sins they have not repented of will have their names blotted out of the Book of Life. Jesus Christ completely paid the penalty for sin - past, present, and future. (Romans 8:1, John 5:24)

A faith-plus-works type of salvation is revealed in Mrs. White's own words when she states: 'As they have become partakers of the righteousness of Christ, and their characters are found to be in harmony with the law of God, their sins will be blotted out, and they themselves will be accounted worthy of eternal life." According to the Bible, character does not determine one's salvation, rather one's salvation determines his character. The future judgment of the Christian in II Corinthians 5:10 is a judgment to determine rewards, not salvation.

Not only do the SDA's teach that sin is not fully atoned for as yet, but they also teach that Satan has a part in the bearing of our sins. Writing about the sin offering and scapegoat of Leviticus 16, Ellen White says 'As the priest in removing the sins from the sanctuary confessed them upon the head of the scapegoat, so Christ will p/ace all these sins upon Satan, the originator and instigator of sin. Satan bearing the guilt of a/the sins which he has caused God's people to commit, will at last suffer the full penalty of sin in the fires that shall destroy all the wicked."

Mrs. White taught that as the priest symbolically took the sins from the people and placed them on the scapegoat in Leviticus 16, so also Christ's death removed the sins from the people, and He will later place them on Satan.

However the Bible teaches that Christ bore the full penalty of our sins because He became the propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins and for the sins of the whole world (I John 2:2). Speaking of Christ, Isaiah 53:6,12 states: "The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all!" In His agonizing hours on the cross. Christ was actually "made to be sin for us" (II Cor. 5:21). Christ did not die to take our sins from us in order to place them on another, He died to suffer the full condemnation for our sins "in his own body on the tree" (I Peter 2:24).

The SDA's are firm believers in the annihilation of the wicked, that the wicked will cease to exist and not suffer everlasting punishment. However God's Word clearly reveals that unbelievers will experience everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46).

The SDA's teach the doctrine of soul-sleep, and that there is not a conscious existence from the time of death until the resurrection from the dead. They teach that no believer while living, can really know if he has eternal life, for such knowledge will not be given to him until he is raised from the grave. They base their teaching on Ecclesiastics 9:5 However the Bible declares the possibility of having present assurance of one's salvation inverses such as I John 5:11-13 and Romans 10:9.

When most people think of the SDA church they usually think first of the Adventists' worship on the seventh day of the week. The SDA's make the keeping of this day, as well as the keeping of other laws, a criterion of a person's relationship with the Lord, even to the point of his salvation. "The keeping of the fourth commandment is an all important present truth, but this a/one will not save any one. We must keep all ten of the commandments, and strictly follow all the directions oft/me new Testament and have living active faith in Jesus. Those who would be found ready to enter the saints' rest at the appearing of Christ must live wholly, wholly for Jesus now

In Adventist literature, the reader will find it stressed that they believe salvation to be by faith in Christ. However to this belief in Christ they add their works of the Law. This is the same error Paul condemned the Galatian Church for in Galatians 1:8. Salvation cannot be obtained by both faith and works (Romans 11:6, Ephesians 2:8,9). A person produces good works because he has everlasting life, not in order to obtain it. Sunday keeping will be the "mark of the beast' during the Great Tribulation according to Ellen White.

The Sabbath was given as a token of the covenant between God and Israel (Exodus 31:16,17). Sabbath keeping has never been commanded of the Church, and for the Body of Christ the special days of the Old Testament were only a type of things of come. The Old Testament rest of the Sabbath Day was only a picture of the rest that one enters when he places his faith in Christ and ceases from his own works (Hebrews 4:9-12). In commemoration of the day upon which Christ rose form the grave, the New Testament Christians met for worship on the first day of the week (Acts 29:6,7).