Sabbath, April 7, 2007
THE FIRST SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS
1. What happened among the Millerites in March of 1844?
Isaiah 58:12-14 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
“And it was an effective sermon. Frederick Wheeler went away thinking. He kept on thinking and studying, and not many weeks later he kept his first Sabbath and preached a sermon about it on that same day. This was in March, 1844. Either before this or shortly after, several of the members of this Washington Adventist company took their stand for the Sabbath. The first of these was William Farnsworth, a brother of Cyrus and father of that Eugene W. Farnsworth who became a prominent minister in the denomination. William Farnsworth was shortly followed by his brother Cyrus, and others, until a considerable part of the little church were Sabbathkeepers. This was all the fruit of the Spirit and of the labors of Rachel Oakes Preston, the Seventh Day Baptist.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, p. 116.
2. How did the Sabbath truth gradually advance?
Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
“The next light kindled was in a more prominent preacher of the Second Advent. T. M. Preble, born in New Weare, New Hampshire, and in 1842-44 minister in charge of the Nashua Freewill Baptist Church, itinerated with Miller and others, as well as alone, in the 1844 movement, including that of the ‘seventh month.’ The exact circumstances of his con¬version to the seventh-day Sabbath are unknown, but his proximity to the Washington church and to Hillsboro is suggestive of his communication with them. In the summer of 1844 he began to keep and to teach the true Sabbath.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, pp. 117, 118.
3. What did another preacher do after the great disappointment?
Isaiah 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
Isaiah 34:16 Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.
“Another prominent minister who accepted the Sabbath a few months after Preble, probably following the disappointment, was J. B. Cook, who wrote articles advocating the seventh-day Sabbath, during 1845-46 in The Day Dawn and The Day-Star, two papers then favorable to the doctrine. He likewise, after a year or two, went back on his teaching. Elder Cook had a thorough theological training, was a powerful preacher, and became very influential in the 1844 movement.” –Arthur Whitefield Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists, vol. 1, pp. 118, 119.
4. How did the Sabbath restoration continue to progress?
Isaiah 2:2, 3 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
“Joseph Bates, a prominent Adventist minister residing in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, read the Preble article and accepted the seventh-day Sabbath. Shortly thereafter, Elder Bates journeyed to Washington, New Hampshire, to study this new-found truth with the Sabbathkeeping Adventists residing there. When he returned to his home, he was fully convinced of the Sabbath truth. Bates in time determined to publish a tract setting forth the binding claims of the fourth commandment.” –Early Writings, p. xxi.
ADVANCEMENT IN THE SABBATH OBSERVANCE
5. What was the result of Joseph Bates’ writings?
1 Corinthians 3:5-8 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
“His [Bates’] 48-page Sabbath pamphlet was published in August, 1846. A copy of it came to the hands of James and Ellen White at about the time of their marriage in late August. From the scriptural evidence therein presented, they accepted, and began to keep the seventh-day Sabbath. Of this Ellen White later wrote: ‘In the autumn of 1846 we began to observe the Bible Sabbath, and to teach and defend it.’ (Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 75.)” –Early Writings, p. xxi.
6. How did God help those devoted Sabbath restorers?
Hosea 12:13 And by a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved.
“James and Ellen White took their stand purely from the scriptural evidence to which their minds had been directed in the Bates tract. Then on the first Sabbath in April, 1847, seven months after they began to keep and teach the seventh-day Sabbath, the Lord gave a vision to Mrs. White at Topsham, Maine, in which the importance of the Sabbath was stressed. She saw the tables of the law in the ark in the heavenly sanctuary, and a halo of light about the fourth commandment. See pages 32-35 [of Early Writings] for the account of this vision. The position previously taken from the study of the Word of God was confirmed. The vision also helped to broaden the believer’s concept of Sabbath observance.” –Early Writings, p. xxi.
7. To what other doctrinal questions was the Sabbath restoration related?
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
“In this revelation, Mrs. White was carried down to the close of time and saw the Sabbath as the great testing truth on which men decide whether to serve God or to serve an apostate power. Looking back in 1874 to this experience, she wrote:
‘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 com¬menced keeping the Sabbath before I was shown its importance and its place in the third angel’s message.’ (E. G. White Letter 2, 1874.)” –Early Writings, pp. xxi, xxii.