Believe His Prophets


Advent Believers Accept the Seventh-day Sabbath

In Washington, New Hampshire, in the year 1844, an earnest group of Advent believers were preparing for the coming of the Lord. One Rachel Oakes Preston, a Seventh Day Baptist, came into that community and listened to the preaching on the coming of the Lord on October 22. The believers, of course, urged her to join them in looking for Jesus to come, but she in turn urged them to keep the seventh-day Sabbath if they really wanted to be ready when the Lord returned. Some of the Advent believers in Washington, New Hampshire, accepted the Sabbath truth and began observing the Sabbath faithfully. BHP 76.2

Early in 1845, after the terrible disappointment, T. M. Preble wrote an article on the seventh-day Sabbath for the paper called The Hope of Israel. Through this article, Joseph Bates, an eager searcher for truth, was convinced that he should observe the Bible Sabbath, and he became an apostle of the Sabbath truth. BHP 76.3

Early in 1846 Ellen Harmon and her sister and James White visited Joseph Bates at New Bedford. The thing that was on his heart was the Sabbath. He urged them to accept the Bible Sabbath, and they urged upon him the thing nearest to their hearts. BHP 76.4

Regarding the Sabbath, Ellen G. White wrote in Life Sketches: BHP 77.1

“I did not feel its importance, and thought that he [Bates] erred in dwelling upon the fourth commandment more than upon the other nine.”—Page 95. BHP 77.2

As a matter of fact, she was not impressed by Joseph Bates’s enthusiasm for the Sabbath idea. However, about the time of their marriage in August, 1846, James and Ellen White read Bates’s tract The Seventh-day Sabbath a Perpetual Sign, and from the Bible verses used they decided that they too must keep the seventh day as the Sabbath. She says, “In the autumn of 1846 we began to observe the Bible Sabbath, and to teach and defend it.”—Testimonies for the Church 1:75. BHP 77.3

As one more testimony in this body of evidence that the great truths taught by Seventh-day Adventists came first from the Bible and not from Mrs. White, let us note a letter written by her in 1874, stating: BHP 77.4

“I believed the truth upon the Sabbath question before I had seen anything in vision in reference to the Sabbath. It was months after I had commenced keeping the Sabbath before I was shown its importance and its place in the third angel’s message.’”—Ellen G. White letter 2, 1874. BHP 77.5

It was on the first Sabbath in April, 1847, that she had her first vision regarding the Sabbath. By putting together Testimonies for the Church 1:75 ff., and a letter to Joseph Bates written April 7, 1847, now appearing in Early Writings, 32-35, we get the whole story of what she saw and heard. She seemed to be transferred from earth to heaven, and in vision she was taken through the heavenly sanctuary, where she saw the most holy place and the ark containing the law. She was amazed to see the fourth commandment shining above all the others in glory, with a sort of halo of light all around it. She was told of the change of the Sabbath, of the significance of its acceptance and observance, especially in the troublous times ahead, when it will become a sign or a mark for the people who have chosen to obey God rather than man. BHP 77.6

“I was shown that the third angel, proclaiming the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, represents the people who receive this message and raise the voice of warning to the world, to keep the commandments of God as the apple of the eye, and that in response to this warning many would embrace the Sabbath of the Lord.”—Testimonies for the Church 1:77. BHP 78.1

Lo, here are the people of God mentioned in Revelation 12, having the “testimony of Jesus,” which is the “spirit of prophecy” (December, 1844), and keeping the commandments—all ten of them—the seventh-day Sabbath included. Here the remnant church was born, and these two significant truths identify it. BHP 78.2