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The Samoan Sabbath Dilemma — 422 Comments

  1. I don't know if this has been said before, but I will say it now:

    Samoa has chosen to switch over the time zone to match with New Zealand and Australia, even switched their driving to the other side of the road. They have been coming away from American influence and leaning more towards Australian/NZ way of living.

    They need to do the same with their days, match it according to what NZ & AU are following. What day do SDA Churches in AU/NZ worship on?

    Samoa cannot still keep their calendar in sync with America.

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  2. Thank you family for the encouraging posts for the folks in Samoa.
    My sister Emoni who was on holiday in Brisbane at the time of the change over, arrived back last week & spent her first sabbath in our family church in Samatau with the blessings of our 92 year old mum Avaganofoa Puni Tesese who together with the late Pastor T Tesese served 58 years in the Samoa Mission.

    I personally am very sorry for the leaders of the church especially the president who is well known in the Samoan community locally & globally for its gift of preaching (great speaker) Now he will be spending a lot of his time defending & explaining to members & the Samoan community at large.

    Missed opportunity - 2012 marks the 50th Anniversary of Samoa's Independence, major Celebrations planned for June 1- 7th
    No doubt the combined churches (pentecostal, catholics etc, even the Baha'i) will not only celebrate the occasion but promote their beliefs.

    What about the SDA? How can we celebrate the occasion to promote our beliefs when our message is not clear & the action taken implied rebellion against the leaders & the country?

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  3. Talofa R. G. White & All,

    The church leadership at SPD and GC can certainly do more to resolve the brewing discontent in Samoa. The matter in Samoa can no longer be ignored, or treated as similar to Tonga’s situation. It’s unfortunate but traces of the colonial era still exists in the SDA church administration in the Pacific at a time Samoa is celebrating 50 years of Independence and nationhood.

    Unfortunately only a very few members of the church in Samoa were involved in the consultation regarding the Sabbath recommendation by the SPD; most are ‘employees’ of the church. Another downside in this matter requires understanding of the context of the Fa’asamoa (Samoan culture), our people have the outmost respect for ‘faifeau’ (church leaders) and whatever they say is nothing but the truth. This is very true with the colonial mentality that still exists in Samoa where the SPD recommendation on this matter was treated as the 11th commandment.

    People, please be very clear that the Samoan Government did not change the names of days of the week. This is a manipulation of the truth and will haunt the SPD and Samoa administration in the days to come. The calendar in Samoa remains to run from Sunday to Saturday. This is where the church in Samoa is again manipulating the truth by changing the sequence of days in the Sabbath School lesson and other church documents to start from Monday to Sunday (which they are labelling as Sabbath).

    As a Samoan who lives between Samoa and New Zealand, it is important that you do not use the Tongan situation as a precedent in the Samoa issue. Tongans at the time did not have a voice and so the decision was done by mainly European church administrators. This mistake is been repeated in handling the Samoa issue; church leadership is certainly not learning from past wrongs.

    I can live with the notion that worshipping on Sabbath or Sunday can still be correct, and may be an option going forward for the Samoa church. This is possible if the church is to accept both the IDL or the 180 degree meridian argument and counter argument (man-made imaginary line). Otherwise, if we have Jerusalem as the 0 degree reference instead of Greenwich, then Samoa including American Samoa and also Tonga are without a doubt in the same ‘day’ (sunset to sunset) as where Jesus was on Sabbath.

    The General Conference needs to intervene now.

    If you want to receive regular updates regarding the Samoa situation, you can email to info@eventpolynesia.com with the words SABBATH KEEPER in the subject line to subscribe.

    Alofa atu (kind regards)

    Pa'u Fereti Puni

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    • Dear Pa'u Fereti Puni,

      Thanks for your input. I too believe and have been thinking for long that the GC should intervene. What has really saddened me is when you write that "The church in Samoa is - - - changing the sequence of days in the Sabbath School lesson and other church documents to start from Monday to Sunday."

      The GC has the authority to put things right before the church is thrown into more confusion.

      But do we assume that they are following along in our discussion on this forum? I suggest that the church in Samatau SDA should write to the GC and request intervention. It is not too late to make right the harm already done. May God strengthen you all in Samoa.
      Alofa atu,
      Rose

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  4. My original comment was an attempt to show that a purely technical approach will lead to twins on opposite sides of the IDL to have Sabbath that is 24 hours apart.

    The tail end of the comment was about worshiping with those believers that have an established Sabbath in their time-zone. It is now time to appeal to unity in the churches around the IDL. What has been the practice of established members in each of the 24 time zones around the world. The apostles did not obtain Pentacost until they were united in purpose, worship, friendship, etc. When we move from one time zone to another (whether we move or the boundaries of the time zone move) they accept the new time. When one crosses the IDL we also accept the new date and day-of-week. Those who find themselves in a different time zone need to unite with the established believers in that new (to them) time-zone. Even if that means one suffers a "one-time-event" of moving across the IDL.

    I personally suffer this event twice each year. Once as I travel from the US to the Philippines. Then two weeks later I must adjust my personal week again to match those that remained home. Should I insist that my personal week cycle must remain intact? That would mean I would worship on a day different from my fellow believers that I travelled to help. This does not lead to unity.

    Saddly, our church leaders did not anticipate such an event around the IDL. In hind-sight, they should have seen this coming decades ago (it was an event just begging to happen) and set forth and taught a mechanism to deal with it such that all members are united in worship both before and after such an event.

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  5. According to RG White's modern day parable of the "The Truck" Samoa Mission's truck “hit the International Dateline like a speed bump at 55 mph, and lost the Sabbath out the back of their truck.”

    Note :
    *South Pacific Division was the driver - Samoans were in the back of the truck
    *The support Car driven by the General Conference took so so long to pick up the "Sabbath" before the first vehicles driven by the public drove over it.

    If this happened in the last century it's not too bad as it takes 3 months to get a letter to its destination.

    GC should shoulder the blame along with the SPD for not acting quick enough back in Dec 2011 before this ever went public, but as the Kiwis say " Shell be alright Mate" Its only Samoans.

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  6. Talofa All (hello in Samoan),

    Appreciate your replies White, Rose and Jenkins above. To establish a way forward, I offer my article below in full to provide context to the local situation in Samoa.

    IS THE MOVE BY THE SDA CHURCH IN SAMOA TO WORSHIP ON SUNDAY A CONVENIENT COMPROMISE?
    Source: eventpolynesia.com

    The controversial decision by the SDA church administration in Samoa to worship on Sunday has drawn many letters on the issue from Seventh-day Adventists around the world.

    Many are critical of the inconsistency in the position of the Samoa-Tokelau Mission by rejecting Saturday as the 7th day of the week following the Government’s decision for Samoa to align with Australia and New Zealand (west of the IDL), hence the reason for now worshipping on Sunday; and on the other hand accepting the new ‘working week’ from Monday to Friday.

    Bloggers on WWW.SSnet.org (Sabbath School Network site) and www.spectrummagazine.org have also raised an interesting observation regarding a convenient compromise by the SDA church in Samoa should there be a Sunday Law.

    “Can I flee to Samoa to avoid persecution when the worldwide Sunday law happens and at the same time keep my Sabbath with a clear conscience?”

    “I wonder indeed if we can move to Samoa when the Sunday Laws come – and keep Sabbath on Sunday?”

    Dr. Allen Sonter a respected Seventh-day Adventist educator and missionary from Australia who lived and worked in (Western) Samoa and Tonga for a number of years, and also worked in the SDA (CPUM) office for 6 years highlighted the complexity of the Samoa issue, “My work then involved crossing the date line frequently. In fact, I recall one 8-week period when I did not have two consecutive weeks of the same length. My weeks would be 7-days 8-days, 7-days 6-days, 7 days, 8 days, 6-day, 7-days. Sometimes the only flight we could get from Rarotonga to Auckland was on a Friday afternoon, so we would take off late Friday afternoon, cross the date line in the evening, and land in Auckland on Saturday night. Where did Sabbath go? I hated that flight, because I missed a Sabbath! Incidentally, I also missed my birthday one year, and Christmas day another year.”

    “The Bible gives no instruction about how to handle the date-line issue, and it also says nothing about where on the surface of the earth the Sabbath begins and ends. Therefore, if God has not seen fit to make that issue clear, it is obviously not a matter that is vital to our salvation. Therefore, in seeking a solution to the issue we must look to underlying principles that govern our relationship to God and to our fellow believers.”

    “The Sabbath is a sign of the fact that the LORD is our God (Ezekiel 20, 12, 20). Therefore in handling the date-line issue the basic principle that should guide our decision is that our keeping of the Sabbath should mark us as being loyal to God, as opposed to following a man-made day of rest. If the Adventist teaching about the mark of the beast being the false Sunday / Sabbath is true, then to worship on the Sunday (even though sunset to sunset instead of midnight to midnight) gives a mixed message in regard to our loyalty to God. To argue that Sunday in Tonga, and in the new-order (Western) Samoa, is really the seventh day of the week, is to mount an argument to which there is no definitive answer, because, as I noted earlier, the Bible is silent on the facts that are needed to prove one's point. Which solution to the issue most clearly applies the principle that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is a sign of our loyalty to God? When I was travelling frequently across the date-line, I took the view that the right thing for me to do in being loyal to God, was to keep the day accepted as the Sabbath wherever I happened to be. Applying the same principle to the (Western) Samoa situation, the right thing to do might be to continue keeping Saturday in the new-order (Western) Samoa.”

    “I recall that on one occasion in Tonga I was speaking with a delegation from the British government, and one senior officer said, "The Adventist church in Tonga has been very astute in getting around the strong Sunday legislation in Tonga by arguing that in Tonga the seventh day of the week is really Sunday." So from the point of view of an educated outsider looking at the situation in Tonga, it appeared that the Adventist solution to the moving date-line problem did not indicate loyalty to God, but rather the opposite - a convenient compromise, and a rather opportunistic one at that!”

    “I realize that if the church in (Western) Samoa were to change with the changing date-line, and worship on the new Saturday, that would constitute a de-facto admission that the Tongan church had made a mistake by deciding to keep Sunday in Tonga all these years, and that would be an embarrassment to the Tongan church. We must also realize that the church in American Samoa is affected by whatever decision is made.”

    “Now, just to complicate things even further, another underlying principle comes into the picture. That is the principle that we are to consider the effects of our behavior on our fellow believers. Paul tells us that we are not to behave in a way that offends our brother who is weak in the faith (Romans 14: 13). If the church in (Western) Samoa were to change to the Saturday Sabbath in the new-order (Western) Samoa, they may seriously offend their fellow believers in Tonga, and will affect the members in American Samoa. So should the church in Tonga also change and start worshipping on Saturday? I do not know the answer to that, but what I do know is that the churches in both (Western) Samoa and American Samoa, as well as in Tonga, are in this together, and that the final decision should not be imposed by anyone else. I believe there should be a combined meeting of a wide representation of the Tongan and Samoan churches, with a small number of representatives from the NZP Union, the SPD, and the General Conference present to give counsel, but not to take part in the actual decision making process. The matter should be prayerfully discussed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit until a clear consensus among the believers is reached.”

    “When consensus has been reached, the believers in (Western) Samoa alone must make the final decision about the Sabbath in (Western) Samoa. If a decision were to be reached to keep Saturday as the Sabbath in (Western) Samoa, Tongan representatives may wish to make some recommendation about the Sabbath in Tonga, which in turn would need to be handled by the believers in Tonga. Any attempt from the outside to impose a decision on the church in (Western) Samoa is likely to cause a split in the church.”

    With the growing discontent, the SDA church may need to go into damage control.

    If you want to receive regular updates regarding the Samoa situation, you can email to with the words SABBATH KEEPER in the subject line to subscribe.

    Alofa atu (kind regards)

    Pa’u Fereti Puni (aka Edwin Puni)

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    • While it might seem like a good idea to let those most impacted (the local people of Western Samoa) deal with this issue, two points should be noted:
       
      #1 - The Seventh-day Adventist Church is a worldwide church, and as such, the activities of one part of the body do not occur without impact to the rest of the body. (IOW, this is not a local problem)
       
      #2 - The idea that making the right decision now is potentially bad because it could make an earlier decision look poor, is inconsistent with Christianity in general. When we realize that we are wrong, we need to make right -- regardless of how uncomfortable that makes us.
       
      We're all in this together, and the longer it takes to get it sorted out, the worse off everyone will be, and the less effective will be our global witness.

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  7. Before the final decision was made concerning this issue with the IDL change in Samoa, several steps were made to ensure the correct decision is reached.
    1. The churches both in Samoa and abroad were asked to fast and pray about the impact of such a change to the church and for the Holy Spirit to show the right path the church needs to take.
    2. Several concensus were held at the church headquarters where local members were invited to get their views about the change and what they thought the church should follow.
    3. The SPD and GC were asked for their advise and guidance in making the final decision.
    4. The Mission Leaders went around the local churches seeking their perspective of the issue.
    5. The issue is not new to the Pacific as it was the case in Kiribati and Tonga, where the Sunday as the 7th day of the week, after an IDL shift like Samoa, is observed as the Sabbath.
    I am certain that the Holy Spirit in its Power and Wisdom and Might had shown the leaders of the church in Samoa, supported by the SPD based on an advise from the GC the correct path for the Samoan SDA Church to follow. The Samoa Mission for the public's information consists of over 30 congregations all of which still worship on the 7th day of the week, which is now called Sunday. For the exception of Samatau SDA Church which I am sure it's members are also divided in this issue plus a few members from Emmanuel English Church who are now congregating in Mt Vaea at the Government worhip house. The 'discontentment' in the church as mentioned in other postings are mainly due to the high publicity not by the media but by members who are insisting on the new Saturday as the day of worship. I respect your choice of day. The truth of the matter is, we can never satisfy all people, but democracy is God's way. As in some views, we can never ALL come to an amicable solution whichever angle we argue from. Only on our knees in prayer and fasting that we will know that the GOD we serve is bigger than an IDL change and he will never forget nor forsake his church.
    Respectfully,
    Siamani

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    • Hi Siamani,

      Thank you for the information. I'm just feeling like the folks have forgotten that we are Seventh-day Adventist and not Satur-day Adventist. Praise God that He is in control

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      • Dear Menotu,
        What makes us Seventh-day Adventists is the fact that we rest and worship on the SEVENTH day. We cannot call ourselves Seventh-day Adventists when we are worshiping on the FIRST day and thus become SUN-day Adventists. We are praying for Samoa.

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  8. Its the issue of the timezones in general i hope i will get a substantive answer to this , is the sabbath relative or absolute ? if absolute then the sabbath should be observerd in the Jerusalem Timezone, which we believe is where the garden of eden was and creation took place so to say. At creation was the world in one time zone ?

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    • @fimozo:

      If the Sabbath were to be "absolutely" the same time around the globe, we'd first have to decide on the place on the globe that determines the Sabbath. Since Jesus kept the Sabbath in Jerusalem, that would probably be the best choice, as you suggest.

      So let's try that one on for size:

      For the sake of this argument, let's suppose that sunset is 6 pm in Jerusalem.

      At 6 pm Friday in Jerusalem, it is 8 am Friday where I live (PAC time zone). So we would have to keep Friday for Sabbath, and our Sabbath would end on 8 am on Saturday.

      When it is 6 pm Friday in Jerusalem it is 3 am Saturday in Melbourne, Australia. So Australians would be keeping Sabbath from 3 am Saturday morning to 3 am Sunday morning, which gives them all the daylight hours of the Sabbath they currently keep.

      When it is 6 pm Friday in Jerusalem, it would be 6:00 am Friday before the IDL move in Samoa, which means that Samoa should have kept Sabbath from 6:00 am Friday to 6:00 am Saturday morning to match Jerusalem time.

      Now, after the IDL move, when it is 6 pm Friday in Jerusalem it is 6 am Saturday in Apia, Samoa. So folks in Apia would keep the Sabbath from 6 am Saturday to 6 am Sunday to match Jerusalem time. (The interesting thing is that, after the IDL move, Apia time is a lot closer to Jerusalem time than it used to be.)

      It gets a bit complicated, don't you think? (I think I got the times right, but my head feels like it's spinning. You can check them out for yourself at http://www.worldtimeserver.com/convert_time_in_IL.aspx)

      After considering this, do you think it is possible that the Sabbath could be an "absolute" time?

      (Remember that in Genesis, each day begins in the evening, and the evening at one place is a very different time zone than the evening at another place. God made Sabbath keeping simple -- from evening to evening. We make it complicated.)

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      • Thanks Inge for the reply my point being that if the sabbath is relative then we should not worry about the sunday keepers. The other issue is that the sabbath commandment was given to a people in a given locality. They did not have a timezone issue, then but in a global world its different. If the meaning of the sabbath is that God made some time holy then the holy time is absolute. it cannot be relative!

        I thank you for your reply and hope to hear from you.

        Happy sabbath

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  9. Siamani, it's good to hear from someone who seems to have been actually involved in the decision making. You said:

    "The SPD and GC were asked for their advice and guidance in making the final decision."

    Can you tell us, did these entities advise in favour of the decision to adopt Sunday observance?

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  10. Thanks Simani for reminding us (letting us know) that this decision by the Western Samoa Seventh Day Adventist to continue worshiping on an unbroken 7 day cycle, which is now call Sunday (previously called Saturday), was taken with much consultation, fasting and prayer by Seventh Day Adventist officials in Western Samoa.

    I also agree that the Holy Spirit has shown the Samoan Church the right paths it needed to take, as also in the case of Tonga, Kiribati, Niue, Tokelau, etc.

    It is important to remember that Saturday is not the Sabbath Day, because some of the posts promote this idea. “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy, ..... But the seventh (not Saturday) day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God .....” Exo 20:8-12.

    The fact that the 7th day Sabbath in a lot of countries happens to fall on a Saturday is just a coincidence. This is apparent in the case of Tonga, Niue, Kiribati, Tokelau and Western Samoa, where the 7th day falls on a Sunday.

    The 7-day cycle starting from Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday is a different 7-day cycle from Day1, Day2, Day3, Day4, Day5, Day6 (or preparation day), Day 7 (Sabbath Day) of creation. The former 7-day cycle is control by the government, but the latter is not. The former 7-day cycle has its origin with humans, whereas the latter find its origin with God right from the beginning of human history. Humans can call today Thursday 29th December 2011 and tomorrow Saturday the 31st December 2011 or go the opposite and call today Wednesday 4th July and tomorrow Wednesday 4th July, but God will never call today Day4 and tomorrow Day6, or today Day4 then tomorrow Day4 again and that is why Day5 (or Thursday 29th December 2011) was followed by Day6 (Saturday 31st December 2011) and Day7 is now rightly call Sunday in Western Samoa.

    Also if we look at American Samoa and Western Samoa, when it is Saturday in American Samoa, it is Sunday in Western Samoa. According to SDA officials, Saturday in American Samoa and Sunday in Western Samoa are both the 7th day of the week. It hasn’t been a problem for more than a 100yrs up to now (1st Jan 2012).

    All of a sudden it has become a problem, all because Western Samoa has decided to rename Friday, Saturday, and rename Saturday, Sunday and so forth.

    When the sun rises up this morning in Samoa, American Samoa call today Friday, while Western Samoa call it Saturday. This is the same country, same people, speaking the same language, seeing the same sunrise and experiencing the same sunset. So it my opinion that the SDA officials got it right, by having them (American and Western Samoa) worshiping (Sabbath) tomorrow morning, although one half call tomorrow Saturday (American Samoa) and the other half call it Sunday (Western Samoa). They are both the 7th day.

    God Bless.

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    • Dear, Viliami:
       
      That sounds like a good answer, but then answer me this please: Given that this is not the first time that the dateline has been moved for that country, upon what basis have you determined that *this* particular selection of the dateline is the correct one?
       
      Please remember that the country's position relative to the dateline was changed in 1892, to favor trade with the US, and was just recently changed back a few weeks ago.
       
      So, which is the "unbroken 7-day cycle"?

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  11. Some of the recent comments have me questioning. I have a number of questions for Siamani, but I’m waiting to see if we might hear from anyone else with an inside knowledge of the facts concerning the decision making process that has taken place. I have no doubt that God is in control. Whether or not it is the Holy Spirit who has been leading some of our Samoan brothers and sisters into Sunday observance is, to my mind, quite another question.

    Viliami wrote:

    “The fact that the 7th day Sabbath in a lot of countries happens to fall on a Saturday is just a coincidence.”

    Is it just me, or does this sound a little bit strange to anyone else? My understanding is that Saturday is the 7th day of the week by definition. That is, the Roman names are the equivalent of numbers. Is this some kind of strange new theory? If so, where did it originate? If the end result of this kind of nonsensical thinking is Sunday observance, shouldn’t this raise a few red flags in the mind of any Seventh-day Adventist Christian who is familiar with end-time prophecy?

    Viliami also wrote:

    “When the sun rises up this morning in Samoa, American Samoa call today Friday, while Western Samoa call it Saturday. This is the same country, same people, speaking the same language, seeing the same sunrise and experiencing the same sunset.”

    Is this the real problem? As Tyler has pointed out, the day has to start somewhere. Is it just too hard on the national sensibilities of some Samoans to have the date line dividing their people? I can sympathise with this. I don’t believe anyone likes to see a nation divided, even in a small way. But I do have a question. What matters more to us, as Seventh-day Adventists and as Christians, our citizenship or nationality here on earth, or our citizenship in heaven? And, which course of action will best advance the interests of the kingdom of heaven?

    There is something about this whole matter that deeply troubles me. The members of the Sunday-keeping churches seem to have no problem adjusting to changes in the International Dateline. Loyalty to the pope, or whatever loyalties may be involved, seem to be sufficient to enable them to overcome their national sensitivities or personal preferences, to set aside their pet theories, or whatever. Yet our Sabbath keeping is supposed to show our loyalty to Jehovah, is it not? What are we willing to do for the honour of His Name?

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    • Actually, R.G., I think that the problem is how we feel we need to honor God.
       
      The justification I've seen for worshiping on that which is now recognized as Sunday in that country, is that God will somehow be honored because the brethren there held fast to a specific 24-hour period no matter how the government tried to change its name.
       
      The problem is that our God, while not bound by human logic, tends to do things in a consistent and logical way, and instructs us to do likewise.
       
      Logically, if the new "Sunday" is really the real seventh day, then all former Sunday keepers have just been tricked into keeping it. Is this how our God works?!?
       
      When Peter was tricked into liability for a church tax that by right should never have been levied on him or Jesus, did the Son of God say, "Well, they can't fool me into paying that." (Matt 17:24-27) No. We avoided an unnecessary conflict and did not dishonor God or His mission.
       
      I'd like to have someone explain how God is honored by the decision that was made, and how He'd be dishonored if the decision had been opposite -- especially in light of the fact that the dateline was just moved back to its pre-1892 location, as opposed to this being the only time it has moved.
       
      I'm sure that people fasted and prayed before doing what they did, but only God knows if they submitted to Him or not. We aren't in a position to say, but we should also remember that God doesn't remove our ability to make decisions. The early believers fasted and prayed and selected Matthias as the 12th Apostle, yet God seems to have subsequently chosen Saul of Tarsus, as the Bible records nothing more about Matthias, and a whole lot about Saul/Paul.
       
      It is not accurate to believe that just because prayer was offered -- even with fasting -- that the end result is what God sanctioned. Consider Isaiah 58:5...
        
      By our fruits we will be known, and the current fruits of this decision appear to be confusion, of which God cannot ever be considered as the author.
       

      God allowed the early Advent believers to observe the Sabbath as 6pm to 6pm -- for 10 years! It was only as they studied some more that they came to realize their mistake. I pray that there will be more prayer and Bible study, until the brethren can better realize God's will in this situation and in Tonga.

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      • Sadly, some people's perception of God allows for him to break His own commandments and use trickery, coercion, manipulation and a host of other tools simply because He is sovereign.

        As a church we have placed a lot of emphasis on obedience in such a way that sometimes recourse to "logic" and "reason" seems sinful and disobedient. More than once we are advised that "human reasoning" is suspect and leads to sin, and that we should "obey God no matter what".

        I think this is at the crux of the matter for our brothers and sisters in Samoa.

        So I am not sure your appeal to reason or practicality will hold sway. Until we know how to navigate these waters (which even I am uncomfortable with), then we won't get very far with some of our brethren.

        The Sabbath has always been promoted as an arbitrary test of obedience that we must just follow--particularly at the end time; and so on this matter I see no solution.

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    • Hi everyone, I've read every comment up to this point and although I'd prefer to have read all the comments before posting I wanted to address R.G.'s question about how the deliberation process unfolded in Samoa. Just wanted to say that I really appreciate the dialogue on here, as well. Particularly because it provides a platform for pacific islanders to openly discuss their concerns with other Adventists. Some here have referenced Mark 2:27. I think that if this issue has confirmed anything it’s how grateful we should be that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath and not us.

      I don’t pretend to have the full scoop on what happened in Samoa, but I can second all that Siamani described above as being precisely what I heard took place. My father, who pastors in the U.S., was among the many Samoan ministers who were invited to provide clarity on the issue. I believe his statement was brief but essentially in support of maintaining the Sabbath observance held prior to the government’s change. I like to think for myself so, yeah, I just happen to share the same belief.

      The invitation was mass mailed to Samoan ministers worldwide but my father was one of very few to forward their statements to everyone on the list. Personally I believe most on either side were content with having the few outspoken pastors to speak on their behalf. Nonetheless, whether they voiced their concerns privately or not, the mission did seek their input. When the mission made their decision, however, there was a surge of opposition from pastors outside of Samoa petitioning the mission to reconsider. A request was made to hold a forum in Australia. Mind you, everything Siamani mentioned had already occurred. The mission president responded by inviting these ministers to a public form on the mission grounds instead. He reasoned that if anything was to be said after the fact, it still should be heard by the churches in Samoa. The decision would not be altered, but any minister who wished to be heard could do so at the forum. As a result, a delegation of influential Samoan ministers from the GC, California and Australia arrived as did the SPD president. Every church in Samoa was requested to attend, as well as fast and pray for God’s leading. To my understanding, the meeting went well and everything was done in the spirit of God.

      Shortly after, the Adventist church in the village of Samatau announced their decision to observe the 7th day of the new week. I won’t sit here in the U.S. and judge the motivation of the Samatau members. I don’t know them personally and it’s not like they’re seeking to break away from the Church. But it is worth noting that the Samatau church is built on land owned by the immediate relatives of prominent members in that overseas ministerial delegation. Full disclosure, I am closely related to them as well; it’s a small world. That’s as much as I know and I don’t care much for reading further into the little I know. Although I do wish Samatau would return to what I believe is the true Sabbath, I applaud the mission for not rushing to excommunicate an entire church when clearly they’re striving to be faithful to God’s 4th commandment. At the same time, given all that has transpired, a decision will eventually need to be made.

      Finally, I just wanted to shed some light on the character of the Samoa mission leadership. My parents have a close relationship with the president of the Samoa mission, Pastor Uili Salofa. I grew up with his children for a few years while at Fulton College, Fiji. So hopefully it brings some comfort to hear that we know pastor Uili to be a genuinely humble man of God, which is more than I can say for many Samoan ministers. If you think I’m exaggerating, just ask around – either side. But I’m sure that even those who disagree with the mission’s decision will stop short of questioning the character of its president. It’s true that Samoans treat their ministerial leaders with the utmost respect; higher than the chiefs. It is an aspect of our culture that can elicit the best or the worst out of people and much of this hinges on who is leading; obviously problematic. While my perspective is fairly bias, I hope I shed enough light on how the deliberation process unfolded in Samoa - with much prayer and consultation. If any leadership should be questioned, it isn’t the mission or even the SPD. The issue of the Sabbath in Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati ought to have global implications for our Church and thus be addressed where accountability is highest. But again, so glad Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath and not us.

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      • In re-reading the comments on this subject, I have noticed some serious disagreement over the amount of consultation that occurred with the membership before the SPD recommended keeping Sunday as Sabbath beginning in January 2012.

        Those in favour of Sunday keeping seem to be saying that there was much consultation.

        Others seem to be saying that there was little, if any, consultation and the presentation given to the churches was altogether one-sided.

        I understand that a PowerPoint presentation was used in the consultation process with the Samoan churches. But this presentation does not seem to be available on the SPD site for other Adventists to see. If the presentation was indeed comprehensive, allowing local Samoan Adventists to examine the ramifications of the possible ways of relating to Samoa's move across the date line, it would really help the situation if this presentation were available for all to see. (It's not difficult to put a PPT presentation on a website.)

        If the SPD is unwilling for others to view this presentation, should we perhaps wonder whether the presentation really gave Samoan Adventists an intelligent choice?

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  12. This discussion has certainly sparked a lot of interest and I am not sure whether the cause of unanimity for the Samoans has been served all that well by the discussion both here and on other blog sites. Ultimately it is a Samoan problem and they have to live with the decisions that they have made. For the rest of us who do not have a date-line problem we will continue to observe Sabbath without confusion.

    The appropriate input from the rest of the Adventist community I believe is that the Samoan Church achieve a unanimous solution to the problem. Of course it is in their interest to seek advice, but ultimately it is their decision. Depending on who you listen to, there appears to be some concern that the decision process has not been as transparent as it could have been. I have read papers by Samoans for whom I have a great deal of respect, that seems to indicate that the process has been somewhat more coercive than it should have been. I have also read posts that suggest the process was consultative.

    I understand the complexity of the situation. I have many colleagues and indeed family members who have worked in Tonga and who have struggle to accept the situation there. The number of words spent on that issue over the years have been considerable. Further, I appreciate the concern when changes are made to time. Having flown over the date line both ways on several occasions I know how it feels to miss a Sabbath (and to have a 48 hour Sabbath). There is also the issue that now American Samoa and Samoa are of different sides of the IDL. It would have been better if some unanimity had been reached before the change.

    However it has happened and now there is a very real need for us to support the Samoan people in their effort to achieve unanimity of the issue. To my Samoan friends, my prayers are with you. I pray that you come to a decision of unanimity and that the rest of the Adventist church will support you in that direction.

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    • Hi Maurice,
       
      On this point, I am going to have to disagree: This is not a local issue, as our church is not just about local congregations.
       
      And, I'm not sure that unanimity should be the goal. The correct option should be determined and implemented -- in a Christlike way, of course -- whether or not everyone agrees. Given the situation, I doubt that there will be unanimity, but that must be a lower consideration than ensuring that God's will is done.

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  13. Greetings to all,

    I seem to see the discussion shifting to a different basis than before. Rather than the 'virtual' travel issue earlier, it seems now we are talking about how absolute the 7-day cycle is on a 'stationary' piece of land we now call Independent Samoa. I would like to submit two possibilities based on either premise:

    1. The day of the Sabbath is considered as coinciding with the Sabbath of surrounding nations (because we are not a localised, but a global, mission). Therefore, again, if i travelled across the IDL, i would worship Sabbath on the day that the locals worship. In this case, Independent Samoa, having now considered themselves 'neighbours' of NZ and other far eastern countries, rather than the US, would now have to worship with the locals (being those in NZ and other countries.) That would be going back to the 'virtual' travel principle from much earlier in the discussion.

    On the other hand we could look at Independent Samoa as the frame of reference, rather than the IDL. Which means that piece of land would be the point from which days are measured, irrespective of neighbours' behaviour, or the IDL or any ither factor. In this case we must ignore any calendar changes and keep to a strict 7-day cycle because Samoans would have been on that reference point since way-back-when. This means that the post-1892 Sabbath, the change that saw the 4th of July experienced twice must be ignored. This, in turn, means that Seventh-Day Adventists in Independent Samoa have been keeping the wrong day as the Sabbath for 110 years. Coincidentally, 2012's change (which we shall also ignore) restores the title of Sabbath to the original pre-1892 24-hour period. Since God would be absolute in blessing THAT particular 24-hour period, then we cannot argue that the 1892-2011 Sabbath was the right day of worship, but rather the wrong one.

    My point is whether we look at the 24-hour period as relative, or fixed over the skies of Independent Samoa, taken back to the times the Sabbath was instituted and commanded and even observed by Jesus Himself, what is now called Saturday lies directly on the Sabbath that would have been ordained by God. Whether we see it as travelling, or remaining stationary, the adjustment should be made. No matter the frame of reference, certain facts in history and geo-politics need to be ignored to find Sunday to lie on the original Sabbath day that the Samoans are to worship.

    If it is insisted that an unbroken 7-day cycle must be kept, then, the way i see it, the SDA conference/division over Independent Samoa need to acknowledge that the wrong day has been kept for the past 110 years. This could be because the SDA church (as was mentioned earlier) only arrived in 1892 when the day-change occurred. I do not seek to blame them for lack of integrity or dishonesty. I believe the Samoans honestly and faithfully kept 'what they thought' was the 7th-day Sabbath (in the absolute interpretation). This would be the perfect opportunity to correct this 'mistake'.

    So in 1982 either the Samoan SDAs made the right choice to worship on what was Saturday because it was in line with the IDL shift, and would be right to do the shift according to the IDL shift again. Or, in 1892, the Samoan SDAs thought the wrong day in the absolute 7-day cycle was the Sabbath and worshipped thereon. And as such, it would be fitting to say that the 2011 Saturday was not in line with the original 7-day cycle Sabbath over Samoa, and so the change is necessary to right the mistakes of the past.

    Either way i look at it, the only reason that Sunday would be kept is if an inconsistent approach to this absolute/relative day-keeping issue is applied. If consistent, it should all lead back to incidentally worshipping on the 2012 'Saturday'.. a day that would be originally and relatively Sabbath in all senses.

    God.bless
    Toka

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  14. greetings all!

    i have read and read the comments placed and shared re the 'new Sabbath' change in samoa. my family and i were in samoa just a week ago, and i will tell you now, there is not just 'confusion' but also 'sadness' - why?? is our God a God of confusion? sadness? division? - no. there is a problem.

    on my first week there i did not attend church, as the village i was in and nearby villages now hold there services on sunday (as i was determined only to attend on saturday Sabbath). on my second week, i was at my fathers village which was nearby only ONE village which continue to hold worship services on saturday Sabbath. i attended, as my heart just could not let go, and a strong impression that this was the 'right' thing to do.

    looking and remembering prophecy, my question is...(as i believe it may have been over-looked), when once sunday law/worship is enforced, where is the line? where is the opporutnity for the samoan sda community to show their loyalty to the true Sabbath? it seems there will be no arguement? as the samoan government sees no 'threat', therefore no 'persecution'.

    i am not a Bible scholar, a Pastor, or delegate...however, i am a young person who studies the Word of God, and is living in a time where prophecy is quickly unfolding before our very eyes.
    the situation in samoa is a very sad one - could the majority be wrong and the minority right? - just a thought.

    thank you. may we continue to pray, as what is most important now is that we 'afflict' our own hearts and pray for the continual leading of the Holy Spirit.

    blessings!
    sue

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  15. Thank you, Sue, for sharing your experience and perspectives. Blessings to you, too.

    Toka, thank you for your analysis. I think it would be hard for anyone to dispute the soundness of your logic. As your second alternative, you spoke of the possibility of using Samoa itself as the frame of reference in establishing an unbroken weekly cycle since creation.

    This concept intrigues me. I find myself wondering just how Samoa could even be used as such a frame of reference unless man, the weekly cycle, and the 7th-day Sabbath had been created in Samoa. It seems clear enough to me that, in the beginning, this part of the world was uninhabited by man, and that Samoa therefore did not yet have either a weekly cycle or the Sabbath. The weekly cycle (insofar as establishing which day is the 7th) must have arrived in Samoa with its earliest settlers.

    We don't seem to have any way of knowing whether the geographical location of Samoa was ever inhabited before the flood. In any case, today's Samoans are obviously descended from Noah, whose ark landed "in the mountains of Ararat." It seems to me that Samoa's first inhabitants, subsequent to the flood, must have moved in an easterly direction to arrive there. Thus, it is no surprise to me that Samoa appears to have been on the same week as Australia before the existence of any conventional date line, and even afterward until 1892. To my mind, Toka, all of this would appear to confirm your conclusions.

    Now, what if we were to apply the same principle to the Americas? Although most inhabitants of the Americas appear to be from a European background, and their ancestors brought Europe's weekly cycle with them, these were obviously not the first human beings to arrive there.

    The best information seems to be that those earliest settlers arrived from such places as Mongolia and Nepal across a land bridge that once existed where Bering Strait is now. So, if one were to use the Americas themselves as a frame of reference in establishing an unbroken weekly cycle since creation, it seems to me that what is now called "Friday" would actually be the true 7th day.

    Does anyone think we should make this kind of change, and observe Friday as the 7th-day Sabbath in the Americas, or is Toka's first suggestion, using the generally accepted weekly cycle as a reference, a better idea?

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    • Very true, RG. My point was not actually to entertain the thought of Samoa being the reference, but rather to show that, at least the way i see it, i cannot see how Sunday could be considered the day upon which the Sabbath rests. At least, if used consistently, either principle leads to a valid change to Saturday. Though i believe since the official say of the inhabitants of, especially North America lies with a government that acknowledges its administrative past from Europeans travelling west from Europe. But if it was originally inhabited by people heading East, then America is in the Far East. This displaces Europe slightly to the West instead of the centre of the world map (they initially put themselves there because of ideological issues.) Anyway, it is a possibility to think of Americas' Friday in that way.

      I also empathise with the people of Samoa who are now saddened by the change, as Sue had said.

      Thank you RG for the article, it seems to have provoked the minds and spirits of many. If only we would be like-minded on the issue. That shall be my solemn prayer.

      God.bless to all those in all the countries experiencing this difficulty.
      Toka

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  16. I will put the references first, than my comment will came last.

    REFERENCE 1:
    Bible Echo and Signs of the Times
    January 1, 1892

    From America to Australia
    Visit to Honolulu
    Mrs. E. G. White
    Samoa and Auckland

    On Friday, November 27, we reached the Samoan Islands, after a pleasant voyage of seven days from Honolulu. . .
    Our steamer cast anchor off Apia, which is situated on the island of Upolo, and is the principal town of the Samoan Group. . .
    Through an opening in the reef that encloses the harbor, vessels pass in and out; another reef lying nearer the shore prevents them from reaching the dock; but passengers are taken on shore in boats. Before us is a reminder of the terrible storms that sometimes visit this lovely spot. On the reef between us and the shore lies the hull of a German vessel that was wrecked in the hurricane of March, 1889, when seven men-of-war and fifteen merchant vessels were either stranded or wholly destroyed.
    Before our steamer comes to anchor, we see boats and the canoes of the natives coming out to meet us; and soon we are surrounded with them. . . Our party were greeted cordially by the natives, who brought them flowers, and seemed anxious to show their feelings of kindness. At one o’clock P.M. the anchor was lifted, and soon our boat was again on its way over the broad Pacific.
    November 26, the day before we reached Samoa, was my birthday. . .
    Between Samoa and Auckland we crossed the day-line, and for the first time in our lives we had a week of six days. Tuesday, December 1, was dropped from our reckoning, and we passed from Monday to Wednesday.

    REFERENCE 2:
    The Review and Herald
    February 16, 1892
    On the Way to Australia
    At Samoa and Auckland
    By Mrs. E. G. White

    Friday, November 27, we reached the Samoan Islands, after a pleasant voyage of seven days from Honolulu. We had expected extremely hot weather in passing through the tropics, but in this we were happily disappointed. Only a few days were uncomfortably warm. On Tuesday, November 24, when we crossed the equator, the air was so cool that we found our wraps needful as we sat on deck.(Par 1)
    . . .
    November 26, the day before we reached Samoa, was my birthday. Another year of my life had passed into eternity, and my record for a new year was begun. As I contemplate the past year, I am filled with gratitude to God for his preserving care and loving-kindness(Par 8 )
    . . .
    Between Samoa and Auckland we crossed the day-line, and for the first time in our lives we had a week of six days. Tuesday, December 1, was dropped from our reckoning, and we passed from Monday to Wednesday.(Par 13)

    REFERENCE 3:
    Ellen G White Volume 4
    The Australian Years 1891 – 1900, By Arthur L. White
    Chapter 1 (1891) The Call to Australia

    Off to Australia
    About twenty-five friends of Ellen White, W. C. White, . . . and the three assistants who traveled with them, were at the wharf in San Francisco Thursday afternoon, November 12, 1891, to bid them farewell as they embarked on the S.S. Alameda for Australia.

    The Voyage to Samoa and Australia
    As they left Honolulu, Elder and Mrs. Starr joined the traveling group. During the seven days to Samoa they crossed the equator. . . Thanksgiving Day, she celebrated her sixty-fourth birthday. . .
    Reaching Samoa Friday morning, the ship cast anchor offshore from Apia, its principal city. Samoans hastened out to the side of the vessel in their boats and canoes, laden with articles for sale. . . Ellen White chose to remain on the ship while her traveling companions went ashore for the brief stay.
    Traveling west and south to New Zealand, they crossed the international date line. For the first time in her life Ellen White experienced a six-day week, for Tuesday, December 1, was dropped from the reckoning. They reached Auckland, New Zealand, on Thursday morning, December 3.

    REFERENCE 4:
    Seventh Day Adventist South Pacific Division Website
    This paper was compiled by David Tasker from materials prepared by Prs Paul Cavanagh, David Hay and Ray Coombe with input from the ministers and elders of Samoa.

    Samoa
    SDA missions entered the Pacific shortly after the 1884 International Meridian Conference, and after the division of the world into two hemispheres. In Samoa, the first Adventist contact was on the 19th May 1888, when George Tenney, an Adventist worker from the US on his way to Australia noticed Sunday worship being observed on the 7th day Sabbath. Then on Friday 27th Nov. 1891, the ship Ellen White travelled to Australia on stopped at Samoa and noticed the wrong time being counted ashore as Saturday, 28th of November.
    Then on 2nd Aug, 1891 Joseph Marsh, captain of the Pitcairn, together with a few colleagues, hired a house in Apia for three weeks and began selling and distributing literature. They found that the LMS Churches in SAMOA were worshipping on the 7th Day but were calling it SUNDAY instead of Saturday. The visiting Adventists worshipped on Sunday during that three-week period.
    When the first resident SDA missionaries arrived (22nd Oct, 1895) they were health workers, led by Dr Frederick Braucht. He established the “Samoan Medical Mission” at Matautu-tai in Apia, and became known as the “Jewish doctor” because he worshipped on the 7th day.
    Samoa and the Dateline
    In 1892 the king in Samoa, Malietoa Laupepa adopted the International Date Line. This moved Samoa into the Western Hemisphere with the USA. The change was achieved by repeating Monday 4th July. What had previously been Sunday was now Saturday. As this change occurred before the arrival of the first resident Adventist missionaries in 1895, there has been an unbroken 7-day cycle of worship ever since.
    The complete paper can found on this link http://adventist.org.au/assets/344976
    A few more papers or articles can be found on this SDA South Pacific Division Website http://adventist.org.au/samoa-dateline-change-2011

    Viliami’s Comment:

    In reference 1, the Signs of the times recorded on the 1st of January 1892 the time Ellen G White traveled to Australia via Samoa. Remember that Samoa did not change to New Zealand time zone till 4th of July that year (1892). E G White records that she left San Francisco, California on the 12th of November at 4 o’clock on the steamship Alameda. They went to Honolulu then Samoa then New Zealand, which means they should drop a day along the line before they arrive in New Zealand to compensate for the calendar.

    It says that upon “Reaching Samoa Friday morning, the ship cast anchor offshore from Apia”

    But please note in particular the paragraph that says “Between Samoa and Auckland we crossed the day-line, and for the first time in our lives we had a week of six days. Tuesday, December 1, was dropped from our reckoning, and we passed from Monday to Wednesday.”

    In reference 2, the Review and Herald on February 16th, 1892 reporting on the same journey writes that on Friday, November 27, they reached Samoa after 7 days voyage from Honolulu. It also states that it was E G White’s birthday (64) on November 26, the day before they reached Samoa.

    The last paragraph is the one most important to us, because it says “Between Samoa and Auckland we crossed the day-line, and for the first time in our lives we had a week of six days. Tuesday, December 1, was dropped from our reckoning, and we passed from Monday to Wednesday.” Remember this was December 1, 1891. Samoa still had the same days as New Zealand, so when it was Friday in New Zealand, it was also Friday in Samoa. Samoa didn’t change over to the American days until the 4th July 1892.

    When E G White wrote in her diary that they arrived in Samoa on Friday, November 27 1891, she was still keeping the American days. This means that it was Saturday in Samoa. E G White didn’t drop a day from her diary until they were between Samoa and New Zealand, when she said that “for the first time in our lives we had a week of six days” This is a time just like it is today where Sunday in Samoa is Sunday in New Zealand.

    While E G White wrote that they arrived in Samoa on Friday the 27th of November, it was actually Saturday the 28th in Samoa. E G White didn’t celebrate the Sabbath until the next day, which would have been Saturday the 28th, just like in America, but actually it was Sunday the 29th in Samoa.

    In Short, While E G White continue to spend the Sabbath on Saturday just like in America, while it was actually Sunday in Samoa. So E G White kept the Sunday Sabbath while in Samoa in 1891.

    In reference 3, Arthur L. White, a grand-son of Ellen G White states that “About twenty-five friends of Ellen White, W. C. White, ….. were at the wharf in San Francisco Thursday afternoon, November 12, 1891, to bid them farewell as they embarked on the S.S. Alameda for Australia.”

    Arthur L. White also states that “Traveling west and south to New Zealand, they crossed the international date line. For the first time in her life Ellen White experienced a six-day week, for Tuesday, December 1, was dropped from the reckoning. They reached Auckland, New Zealand, on Thursday morning, December 3.”

    In reference 4, I think there’s already enough information there. For further reading, please click on the link provided above.

    God bless.

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  17. Some have said that the Samoan government has renamed the days of the week, while others wish to make it very clear that this is not the case, calling the idea “a manipulation of the truth.” Who is right?

    Let’s go to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

    “Definition of SATURDAY: the seventh day of the week”

    So, the days were not renamed; the date line was moved. If someone cannot accept the result, a number of our commentators want to know why. Andrew Baker asked, “Upon what basis have you determined that *this* particular selection of the dateline is the correct one?” Remarkably, this question has so far gone unanswered.

    Where are people getting this idea about the days of the week being renamed, and upon what basis are they resisting the Samoa government’s decision to align their week with New Zealand?

    When the International Dateline was first introduced in 1884, it was devised by an international committee. The current definition, allowing local governments to decide its actual route, appears to be a later development. Samoa recognised the date line in 1892. It seems Tonga never did. Once local government was able to determine the line's route, it was automatically moved to the east of Tonga.

    According to "Why Seventh-day Adventists Keep Sunday in Tonga" (Ministry Magazine, January, 1966) the first missionaries came from the direction of Australia, and taught the locals their weekly cycle. Upon arrival, American SDA missionaries used the new date line, and simply assumed that the local people were using the "wrong" names for the days of the week. “Arrogance” hardly seems a strong enough word to describe this attitude and approach. This imposition, giving “credence to the day line theory,” seems to have been made in stark ignorance or rejection of the inspired warnings from Ellen White. (See 3SM 317, 318) This is how would-be 7th-day Sabbath keepers in the islands were first pushed into Sunday observance, and where the confusion of saying that Sunday is really the 7th day in certain localities originated.

    These missionaries were making the date line into an absolute standard. Later apologists, in trying to justify the existing practice, seem to have elevated the 180th meridian to the level of being “Providential,” or by inference, something of a divine institution.

    Of course, the original International Dateline (approximately the 180th meridian) is no more natural or “Providential” than is the practical Dateline that is accepted today, and which the Samoa government has chosen to move. God is not an American, and the International Dateline has never been anything more than a humanly devised convention, which local peoples and governments are at perfect liberty to change or ignore as they wish.

    Do you remember our dictionary definition of Saturday?

    Now, here are the words of Ellen White:

    “When men are so careful to search and dig to see in regard to the precise period of time, we are to say, God made his Sabbath for a round world; and when the seventh day comes to us in that round world, controlled by the sun that rules the day, it is the time in all countries and lands to observe the Sabbath.”
    Selected Messages, Volume 3, page 317

    So, let's put these two together. When Saturday (or rather, sunset Friday) arrives in any particular country or land, this is the time for us to observe the Sabbath. I think that we have already seen this from the Bible.

    In explaining what He meant by saying, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath,” Jesus spoke of the time when David and his men ate the showbread. This was contrary to the law, as Jesus Himself pointed out, yet Jesus justified it on the basis of necessity.

    How can we ever justify overlooking the public’s need to see us observing the Sabbath on what is generally recognized as the 7th day – Saturday?

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  18. Viliami, thank you for your comment and the quotations that tell of Ellen White's first visit to the Apia harbor.

    I believe you have established sufficiently that when the boat on which Ellen White traveled in November 1891 briefly stopped over in the Apia harbor, it was probably the seventh day (Saturday by Western reckoning) according to Samoan time. You will note that Ellen White did not set foot on Samoan soil at this time. It seems that the boat spent six hours or so in the Apia harbor that day.

    When Ellen White wrote about it in her journal, she used ship's time -- the time by which the captain and the passengers reckoned their days. When the ship crossed the date line, as it was at the time, she accepted a week of six days and adjusted her time accordingly -- which is in stark contrast to what the Samoan Mission has advocated for Seventh-day Adventist church members in Samoa. Ellen White did not claim that "the days were renumbered" as the Samoan Mission Executive seems to be doing. She accepted the reckoning of days of the society around her.

    You didn't give the source of the information that the "ship ... noticed the wrong time being counted ashore as Saturday." It would seem slightly arrogant of the ship's captain to consider Samoa time "wrong" and the ship's time "right." It is normal to accept the reckoning of the time of the local population, rather than to consider it "wrong" and our own reckoning "right." Think how far business people in the world would get if they adopted this kind of arrogant attitude! And it seems to me to be a most unfortunate example for a church to follow.

    Again, the source of the story of Joseph Marsh, captain of the Pitcairn, is not given. But it seems to be a similar story either of ignorance or arrogance -- not accepting Samoa time, but believing his own time to be the "correct" time.

    What is not mentioned in the report by the SPD is that King Malietoa Laupepa moved Samoa across the date line in response to pressure from the United States, also probably hoping for more benefits from the USA. So for nearly 120 years, Samoa stayed on the US side of the date line. Seeing that move was made for political and possibly economic reasons that no longer make sense in 2012, it was eminently sensible for the current government of Samoa to move back to the island time observed before 1892.

    I see just one little flaw in your comment, Viliami.

    In Short, While E G White continue to spend the Sabbath on Saturday just like in America, while it was actually Sunday in Samoa. So E G White kept the Sunday Sabbath while in Samoa in 1891.

    Ellen White's diary entry indicates that Ellen White did not get off the ship when it was anchored in the Apia harbor, and the ship lifted anchor at 1 pm the same day. Thus neither Ellen White nor the ship was near Apia that Sunday. And Ellen White did not keep "Sunday Sabbath" in Samoa. If it weren't for the fact that "the dead know not anything" she would roll over in her grave at being accused of Sunday Sabbath keeping!

    All readers of this blog can easily check out the facts for themselves by merely searching for "Samoa" at https://egwwritings.org/. You will find all references to Samoa in Ellen White's writings, as well as in Ellen White's biography by her grandson, Arthur L. White. You will find, for instance, that on the way back to America, Ellen White accepted an 8-day week when crossing the date line. She did not insist on renumbering the days in order to keep the "seventh" day. She kept the seventh-day Sabbath according to the society in which she moved. This time, she made another brief stop at Apia and actually set food on the island. Delightful reading, really. :)

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    • This will never be resolved in my opinion--at least not without much prayer and time. As SDAs we have a strong undercurrent that being virtuous means being different to other people (or peculiar). I think some of our brethren might see incongruity with surrounding conventions and norms to be virtuous (almost in and of themselves). This is partly so because we are taught that this will be our fate in the future--on this very issue. I guess this is uppermost in many people's minds and drives their thinking.

      I too have struggled with this in the past. Sometimes using reasoning (by human conventions) seems very sinful; particularly when you are always mindful that we should "shun the world" or that "looking odd" is (should be?) your natural state as an SDA.

      [I do think that we need to address many of our weaknesses as SDAs though. One is the spread of unhelpful rumours. Some SDAs where I live seem to think that in Samoa Friday has been removed from the calendar completely.]

      I think that God will work with us (and our brethren in Samoa) as best as He can. It's not like this took Him by surprise or anything.

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  19. For the sake of our readers I'd like to reply to Samani's comment.

    * Which Churches abroad were asked to pray & fast?
    Will it be fair to say it was the Samoan churches in NZ & Australia?

    Did you know that there was a delegation of Samoan ministers from Australia, NZ & the GC who travelled to Samoa, paid their own expenses, & pleaded with the SM to go with the change? Unfortunately their effort & presence were not welcomed.

    *In June, 2011, the Samoa gov't passed the Dateline Bill. From what I gathered it was only in Aug. or at the beginning of Sept. that SM & SPD got the ball rolling.
    Combined church meetings were held, where church members were given only one version (the SPD & SM Version).
    For such an important issue to the church & the members both SM & SPD could have done better.

    Here's my challenge to the SM.

    For the next 6 - 12 months:

    Provide the Samoa church members (grassroots) both versions of the agument & let them know that the GC has not endorsed this decision.

    Provide a guarantee of full employment to all the SM ministers & support staff and encourage them to choose according to their beliefs.

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    • Thank you for your contribution, Jenkins.

      Since you know what actually happened, could you please clarify:
      Were only the Samoan churches in NZ and Australia asked to "pray and fast"? Were the local Samoan churches not included in the fasting, praying and discussions?

      Are you saying that, after praying and fasting, Samoan ministers from Australia and NZ concluded that the Samoan churches ought to accept the change of the IDL, which reinstituted pre-1892 Samoan time?

      Are you saying that Samoan churches were not given opportunity to examine the impending IDL change and how they were to relate to it? Were they only given an executive proposal to rubber stamp?

      In that case, I believe that the vast majority of Sabbath School Net readers can heartily endorse your challenge.

      And I would like to challenge our readers to pray that the Holy Spirit will do a mighty work in Samoa.

      Admittedly, this may not bring unity to Samoan Seventh-day Adventists. But it may very well be part of the "shaking" that Ellen White wrote about -- a shaking that will separate the genuine believers from those who are just going with the flow.

      I can understand why you wrote:

      Provide a guarantee of full employment to all the SM ministers & support staff and encourage them to choose according to their beliefs.

      However, I would like to suggest that ministers and staff who fear God rather than man will take their position regardless of consequences. It would be terrible indeed, if the SM would fire staff for seventh-day Sabbath keeping, but God is still on His throne and is with those who fear Him above man.

      On the other hand, we need to recognize that some people have been genuinely convinced by the apologetics circulated by the SM, and they believe they are keeping the "true Sabbath" by worshiping on Sunday. For the sake of these dear people, I wonder if our Seventh-day Adventist pastors could take a reconciling stance by offering services on both the seventh-day (Saturday) Sabbath and what some regard as the seventh-day Sunday Sabbath. Granted, this might make for small attendance at both services, but Jesus promised that "where two or three are gathered" He would be with us. Is this not a better option than forcing an executive decision on the Seventh-day Adventist membership of a whole nation? Would not such a move by the pastors allow local members to pray and fast and think the issue through for themselves? It would, of course, be best if pastors could take a united reconciling stand on this, regardless of personal convictions regarding the matter.

      And if the Samoan Mission will not circulate both sides of the argument, are there not ways and means of circulating the "other side" through the Adventist population? If it was possible before the printing press and the internet, surely it is possible now. However, it would have to be done with prayer and fasting so that Satan could not take advantage of the issue to divide and destroy.

      My prayers are with you, and I hope that others will put Samoan Sabbath keepers on their daily prayer list.

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      • Hi Inge, I posted a comment above that hopefully clarifies the questions you're asking of Jenkins.

        As to your two-Sabbath proposal, I feel very uncomfortable about it but I appreciate the effort to try and reconcile both sides. I genuinely believe that the sm made the right decision, and I fully support making a stand for truth regardless of the consequences. But as we can all agree, no one finds any joy in seeing God's people divided over a day meant to unify. Let's continue to keep Samoa in prayer.

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  20. R G White writes:

    Let’s go to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

    “Definition of SATURDAY: the seventh day of the week”

    Viliami's Respond:

    Is this a biblical definition? Of course Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday is a 7-day cycle, but it is not the 7-day cycle of Creation nor of the Bible. The Bible says “..... but the 7th day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God…..” Exo 20:8-12

    The Bible says 7th day = Sabbath and the Merriam-Webster dictionary says Saturday = 7th.

    Some people may be drawing the wrong conclusion by reasoning that because Saturday = 7th day (from dictionary), and because the bible says 7th day = Sabbath THEREFORE, Saturday = Sabbath. This is a very serious mistake, for the following reasons.

    1. Is there any verse in the Bible that directly link Saturday to the Sabbath day? Please share if there’s any
    2. Seventh Day Adventists in Western Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati, Niue, Wallis and Futuna, Tokelau, etc are all keeping Sunday Sabbath day, not Saturday Sabbath day.
    3. The origin of Sabbath is found in the bible and during the first week of creation, where as the origin of Saturday cannot be found in the bible or anywhere near creation week
    4. God made the Sabbath day, but humans made Saturday.
    5. The meaning of Sabbath is completely different from the meaning of Saturday
    6. Ellen G White kept the Sabbath on Sunday while in Samoa in 1891 (please refer to my previous post)
    7. SDA = Seventh Day Adventist, not Saturday Day Adventist nor Sunday Day Adventist
    8. The 7-day cycle Day1, Day2, Day3, Day4, Day5, Day6, Day7 of creation is a completely different 7-day cycle from Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. These two 7-day cycle are completely different in origin, meaning and history

    R G White writes:
    So, the days were not renamed; the date line was moved. If someone cannot accept the result, a number of our commentators want to know why. Andrew Baker asked, “Upon what basis have you determined that *this* particular selection of the dateline is the correct one?” Remarkably, this question has so far gone unanswered.

    Viliami's respond:

    The government of Samoa moved the date-line twice now, first on the 4th of July 1892 when they had two consecutive Mondays 4th of July, then the second time on 29th December 2011, when they drop one whole day by moving from 29th Thursday Dec 2011 to Saturday 31st Dec 2011. Friday the 30th just doesn’t exist in Western Samoan history.

    The stand of the Seventh Day Adventist Church on this issue is very consistent. Ellen G White reflected this when she states in 1891 “Between Samoa and Auckland we crossed the day-line”.

    Ellen G White here put the IDL between Samoa and New Zealand while Samoa at the time (1891) put the IDL between Samoa and Hawaii. Between 1892 and 2011 Samoa move the IDL to between Samoa and New Zealand in consistence with the SDA stand. But now (2012), Western Samoa again moves the IDL back to between Samoa and Hawaii, while the SDA stays the same.

    Samoa is not the only one that keeps on moving the IDL back and forth, and for those who support a Saturday Sabbath, will always move back and forth until the end of time. The SDA Church stand on this IDL thing is to stay the same. That is, to stay consistent.

    So to answer Andrew Baker’s question ““Upon what basis have you determined that *this* particular selection of the dateline is the correct one?”

    1. Ellen G White (reflecting the SDA stand?) put the IDL between Samoa and New Zealand in 1891 when Samoa puts it between Samoa and Hawaii
    2. Between 1892 and 2011, both SDA and Samoa put the IDL between Samoa and New Zealand
    3. 2012, SDA still unchanged in putting the IDL between Samoa and New Zealand, but Samoa once again move it to between Samoa and Hawaii

    I hope this answer both your questions.

    God bless

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    • Ellen G White here put the IDL between Samoa and New Zealand while Samoa at the time (1891) put the IDL between Samoa and Hawaii.
       
      The statement of EGW cannot be seen as "putting" the IDL anywhere, any more than one could conclude from 1 Samuel 28:14 that Saul positively identified the prophet Samuel. There's no indication that she had any native or inherent means of determining the location of the IDL, nor that she was trying to establish its definitive boundary. She merely made on observation in her diary, and not in any manner that would suggest the setting of a standard or principle.
       
      All of the arguments which hinge so heavily upon the dateline + "the original 7th day from creation" totally fail to consider that we have no way to establish which day that was -- especially for that part of the world. Had God mentioned somewhere in the Bible where the dateline should be, then we'd have some way of using this as a basis for discussion. But the dateline was created afterwards -- by man. In a totally non-religious context.
       
      Absenting that, we should look at the other visible impacts of the decisions being made. By their fruits, we will know them.
      -- Are we suggesting that all of the other Christians in Samoa are unwittingly worshipping God on the correct day?
      -- Do our Adventist brethren in Samoa now have an enhanced or impaired witness as it pertains to Sabbath keeping?
      -- When the time of persecution ultimately comes to all the world, will those who get the Mark of the Beast in Samoa start worshiping on Monday, because that is the true day of the Sun?
      -- Do the brethren in Samoa maintain their +1 offset of days for the entire week? Or just for Sabbath? (i.e. when they commit to doing something with a non-SDA on "Tuesday", what day do they actually mean?)
      -- Doesn't rendering unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's include all things that Caesar has established which are non-religious (like the dateline)?
       -- If the Samoans ignore the new location of the dateline, how will they handle travel to NZ?
      -- Lastly, if Adventists from other parts of the world pay a visit to Samoa, what do the brethren in Samoa suppose will happen?
       
      It seems that God has already provided very straightforward and simple principles in His word for us to apply here, and we've taken the approach of Ancient Israel to complicate matters and place a scripturally unsupportable set of rules and explanations into place that make as a spectacle, rather than identify us as peculiar people of God.

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  21. Inge writes:

    [I see just one little flaw in your comment, Viliami.

    In Short, While E G White continue to spend the Sabbath on Saturday just like in America, while it was actually Sunday in Samoa. So E G White kept the Sunday Sabbath while in Samoa in 1891.

    Ellen White’s diary entry indicates that Ellen White did not get off the ship when it was anchored in the Apia harbor, and the ship lifted anchor at 1 pm the same day. Thus neither Ellen White nor the ship was near Apia that Sunday. And Ellen White did not keep “Sunday Sabbath” in Samoa. If it weren’t for the fact that “the dead know not anything” she would roll over in her grave at being accused of Sunday Sabbath keeping!]

    Thanks Inge for your assessment. I was going to explain things a little bit more, but my post was already too long with all the references.

    You are right about Ellen White not getting off the ship in Apia harbor, but let us consider this question. Is keeping Sunday 7th day Sabbath any different on land then on a ship on the sea? Whether Ellen G White was on land or on a ship in Samoa shouldn't make a difference, don't you think?. This ship arrived in Samoa on Friday (which was Saturday in Samoa) and that very evening at sunset, I am sure Ellen White according to her custom would have start to celebrate the 7th day Sabbath on the ship in Samoa.

    Think about this, Ellen White states that “Between Samoa and Auckland we crossed the day-line, and for the first time in our lives we had a week of six days. Tuesday, December 1, was dropped from our reckoning, and we passed from Monday to Wednesday.”
    Remember they arrived in Samoa (Apia harbor) on Friday the 27th November 1891, USA day reckoning? In the Land of Samoa this was actually Saturday the 28th November 1891. So according to the government of Samoa, the dateline was between Honolulu and Samoa, because Samoa didn’t move the dateline across to between Samoa and New Zealand until the 4th of July 1892.

    This is quite interesting, because it was actually Ellen White who didn’t recognize the local Samoan time (and for good reasons too); after all it was her diary, wasn’t it? For while Samoa declare the dateline lies between Honolulu and Samoa, Ellen White (or rather she was reflecting the SDA Church stand on the IDL issue?) states that the IDL was between Samoa and New Zealand, just like the SDA Church official stand on IDL today.

    I for one am totally comfortable with Ellen G White’s understanding and stand on the IDL back then, and also the decision of the Western Samoa Mission today, which only reflects Ellen G White’s stand on the IDL back then.

    God bless

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    • Dear Viliami,

      You wrote:

      I for one am totally comfortable with Ellen G White’s understanding and stand on the IDL back then, and also the decision of the Western Samoa Mission today, which only reflects Ellen G White’s stand on the IDL back then.

      It seems to me that the facts may not warrant your conclusion.

      Ellen White did not take a stand on the IDL in relation to Samoa.

      Her diaries do not give any evidence that she knew that Samoa was not keeping the same time as her ship's time. You wrote earlier that "the ship noticed" a different time. But I have never known of a ship to "notice" anything. If anyone noticed anything, it might have been the captain, in which case the passengers would have been informed, and it is quite likely that Ellen White would have mentioned it. But she did not. Thus the idea that "the ship noticed" a different time may just be a bit of fiction. But even if you have documentation that the captain noticed a different time, it is irrelevant to the argument.

      The only "stand" Ellen White took in relation to the IDL is to accept the IDL as interpreted by the society around her. In her diary, she acknowledged the crossing of the dateline as simple fact, accepting a short week. If Samoan Adventists want to follow her example, they will acknowledge the fact that the whole island crossed the IDL and keep Sabbath on the day the rest of the island knows as Saturday, the day before Sunday.

      Judging by the way Ellen White related to the IDL in her day, it is reasonable to deduce that she would have accepted the IDL today in like manner. In other words, when in Samoa, she would accept Samoan time, rather than clinging to her own version of time.

      God has not called Seventh-day Adventists to rebel against governments to pick our own weekly cycle.

      He has called Seventh-day Adventists to honor the seventh-day Sabbath in distinction from the day by which the church of Rome indicates her authority over all who keep it.

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  22. >>I for one am totally comfortable with Ellen G White’s understanding and stand on the IDL back then...
     
    Viliami, I'm having a hard time seeing where Sis White took any sort of stand on the IDL based on her diary entries. She makes no assertion about it one way or the other -- merely an observation about when it was crossed. And since she makes no record of how long it was before she did start to observe the Sabbath once the ship cast off anchor, there's no way to even determine upon what basis she was reckoning the day as Friday the 27th.
     
    You appear to be assuming that she was reckoning it by USA timing. Unfortunately, as travel was much slower then than now, we are not left with an easy way to come to that conclusion. (If she had flown from one place to the other and made reference to each day, then we'd have a valid frame of reference, but there's no way to establish how she came to decide that it was Friday. There were people who visited the island from the boat, so they could have been told what day it was, or she could have accepted the day from the ship's captain. Hard to make definitive statements when key points like this are up in the air).
     
    Seems to me, that she'd be getting that information (when they crossed the dateline) from someone who knew it, like the ship's captain.

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  23. I would agree with anyone who set aside the last day after a six-day work cycle to rest and meditate on God. If the local authority starts changing the work days, then I will count those work days from 1 to 6, then rest on the 7th day (whatever the name of the day may be).

    This is the principle of the Sabbath, and it does not matter how many changes the local authority may do, follow the principle and you will be right through the ages.

    “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work. .” and “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day”. These were the work days in Genesis, and today if the local authority declared a different six days of a work, we should rest on the 7th day of that work week.

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    • Carl,
      What you write applies on a weekly basis.

      But the commandment is not addressing the crossing of a the IDL. When that happens, our week may be shortened by a day or lengthened by a day. If we insist on counting our days by our previous weekly cycle, we will be out of sync with the society in which we live. And this is exactly what happens when a whole country moves across the date line. Refusing to accept the crossing of the date line puts people out of sync with the rest of society and puts seventh-day Sabbath keepers in the position of honoring the Roman authority that established Sunday as a day of worship -- in direct opposition to the commandment of our Creator.

      This reasoning of making Sunday the seventh day of the commandment is based on the faulty assumption that the reckoning of the Sabbath is based on geographical location rather than on the reckoning of the week by the people who live there. But Jesus did not say that the Sabbath was made for a specific location. He said that the Sabbath was made for man (Mark 2:27)-- it was made for individual people and the society in which they live. God wanted to bless us with the Sabbath.

      If we ignore the fact that the Sabbath was made for people -- we can find ourselves in complicated arguments to determine which day is the "original Sabbath" and lose the Lord of the Sabbath in the process. But none of that is necessary when we recognize the words of Jesus as telling us that the Sabbath was made for man. It's not difficult to trace the weekly Sabbath back to the time of Christ. And if we have any doubts, it's easy enough to tell which day comes before Sunday, the false Sabbath established by a human institution.

      In the days of our pioneers, crossing the date line was simply accepted as fact, including the losing or gaining of a day. (Mentioned above, or you can search https://egwwritings.org/ for yourself on "Samoa.") Apparently there was also some agitation over this new day line or date line, and people were arguing as to which was the correct Sabbath. Ellen White considered all such arguments as from Satan. She wrote: "You see how utterly impossible for a thing to be, that the world is all right observing Sunday, and God's remnant people all wrong." Unfortunately we do not know the exact argument she was addressing, but it surely sounds as though someone were arguing that Sunday is the seventh day of the week, just as some are doing now.

      Accepting a short week or a long week in crossing the date line as a matter of fact, as Ellen White and other pioneers did in their travels, would do away with all such confusion, and we would not have several thousand people worshiping Sunday, thinking they are honoring the Lord of the seventh-day Sabbath, when, in fact, their message to their society is that they are agreeing with the church of Rome's claim to have the authority to change the Sabbath.

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      • Imagine everyone having to keep track of their own personal Sabbath (Seventh-day) based on the place and time they were born!
        People in the same family (husband and wife) might have wildly different Sabbaths.

        This goes against the entire meaning of the Sabbath--which is outwardly focused (or should be).

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        • Dear Andrew,

          Thank you for bringing up a new angle in the conversation. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe you are addressing the idea of the "unbroken week" since creation, based on a geographical location.

          This would indeed make it difficult to try to figure out which is the "correct Sabbath."

          Someone pointed me to a chapter in Selected Messages Vol III, p. 316. If you don't have the book, you can follow the link and type this into the Search Box: "The Question of the Date Line."

          There Ellen makes the argument that God made the Sabbath for a round world, and He didn't make it difficult to determine. I wish we could know the background of her statements, because it seems that some advocated some kind of "day line" theory that would make the Sabbath fall on a different day or at a different time in North America. Could it have been an argument that tied the Sabbath to a geographical area?

          Here's the puzzling statement:

          "Now, my sister, ... I write ... to tell you that we are not to give the least credence to the day line theory. It is a snare of Satan brought in by his own agents to confuse minds. You see how utterly impossible for this thing to be, that the world is all right observing Sunday, and God’s remnant people are all wrong. This theory of the day line would make all our history for the past fifty-five years a complete fallacy." (p. 318)

          The fact that she accepted a short week of 6 days as a matter of fact when crossing the date line in a ship seems to indicate that she was not suggesting that the date line, as we now know it was the "day line theory" that she was writing about.

          The chapter in Selected Messages III is a good summary, but there are a couple other references as well:

          We took Brother and Sister Haskell with our team to the station at Dora Creek. On the way Brother Haskell read an article on the day line, written to meet the fallacies that are coming in to make everything uncertain in regard to when the seventh day comes. (10 Manuscript Releases 342.1 or MR# 839)

          Now, my sister, although I am at present sick, I write sitting up in bed to tell you that we are not to give the least credence to the day-line theory. It is a snare of Satan brought in by his own agents to confuse minds. (3 Manuscript Releases 255.2, or MR# 192)

          The Lord accepts all the obedience of every creature He has made, according to the circumstances of time in the sun-rising and sun-setting world. Obedience is the test; and all this plowing into the intricacy of the precise minutes and hours of the Sabbath—it is the test of man’s obedience to honor and glorify God. To sin, or transgression of His law, God will prove a consuming fire. The Sabbath observance is “a sign between Me and you throughout your generations forever.”—Letter 167, 1900, pp. 1, 2. (To G. A. Irwin, March 23, 1900.) from Manuscript Releases Volume Twelve [Nos. 921-999], Page 159
          MR# 958 "Sabbathkeeping in Arctic Lands"

          (I downloaded the Manuscript Releases in the EGW Writings Android App. I'm sure it's available for iPhone and iPad as well.)

          What I get from all these quotations is that the Sabbath isn't hard to figure out -- especially when Sunday stands out so clearly. The issue is obedience to our Creator God in contrast to a man-made institution.

          And, even if we happen to keep the "wrong day," since the Lord reads the heart (1 Samuel 16:7), He accepts the intention of our hearts as obedience.

          PS: I just found another quotation demonstrating the matter-of-fact acceptance of a short week: "Between Samoa and Auckland we crossed the day-line, and for the first time in our lives we had a week of six days. Tuesday, December 1, was dropped from our reckoning, and we passed from Monday to Wednesday." (Bible Echo, January 1, 1892 par. 14) That would seem to be similar to Samoa dropping Friday from their reckoning and passing from Thursday to Sabbath.

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  24. Magellan's crew "lost" a whole day when they circled the globe (going westward -- if going eastward they would have gained a day). Should they have continued to worship according to their days when they returned to Spain? They accepted that something had happened and they re-established their worship day in accordance with the locally held days. If we have SDA members worshiping on different days in the same time zone, then we have lost our unity and the impact of our message.

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  25. Steve, that's the dilemma that the architects & masterminds of the Sunday Sabbath in Samoa did not foresee when they gave the green light to worship on the first day of the week & call it Seventh Day Sabbath.

    Now imagine how confused our Samoan (non-SDA) community will be when in a village or in a town on Saturday SDA Sabbath Keepers will be in church singing hymns, maybe during Divine Service, but right next door the SDA Sunday Keepers are playing volleyball, cricket, touch rugby or doing their weekly chores. That's the Samoan Adventist witness of 2012.

    We had a cousin from Australia & her kids who went to Samoa for Christmas & didn't know about the Sabbath Dilemma & when in Savaii couldn't find any SDA church open on Saturday.

    In Samoa there are now 3 SDA churches:
    *Sab Keepers (worship Sat) membership, offering & tithe to Samoa Mission
    *Sun Keepers (worship Sun) S/mission
    *Sisdac (Worship Sat) Independent SDA (not part of the Conference)

    Please pray for the small group of Sabbath Keepers who have now been summoned by the Samoa Mission to explain their decision.

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  26. Inge wrote: Ellen White did not take a stand on the IDL in relation to Samoa.

    Dear Inge, Ellen White wrote “Between Samoa and Auckland we crossed the day-line, and for the first time in our lives we had a week of six days. Tuesday, December 1, was dropped from our reckoning, and we passed from Monday to Wednesday”

    Ellen white states very clearly, may I say, that between Samoa and Auckland they crossed the dateline. Samoa at this point in time place the Dateline between Hawaii and Samoa, yet Ellen White didn’t say between Hawaii and Samoa we crossed the day-line.

    I believe that even Ellen White cannot make it any clearer than she has already done, that she crossed the dateline between Samoa and New Zealand (and not between Hawaii and Samoa). Whether Ellen White is making a stand on the IDL in relation to Samoa is not the question. I am just showing the fact that Ellen White wrote “Between Samoa and Auckland we crossed the day-line”

    I was asked this question before “Upon what basis have you determined that *this* particular selection of the dateline is the correct one?” and I have already gave my answer to that question. But please, will you answer me this question? Do you think it is right for me to follow Ellen White’s example and place the Dateline between Samoa and New Zealand? OR do you think I should disregard Ellen White’s example and follow the Government of Western Samoa, and place the dateline between Hawaii and Western Samoa?

    Between 1892 and 2011, we had no problem because the 7th day of the bible = Sabbath = 7th day of man (dictionary) = Saturday

    But the scenario that Ellen White faced back then in 1891, is the same scenario we are facing today in 2012, because Western Samoa is placing the IDL between Hawaii and Samoa, while the SDA Church of Western Samoa is placing the IDL between Samoa and New Zealand, just like Ellen White did back then.

    Inge wrote: The only “stand” Ellen White took in relation to the IDL is to accept the IDL as interpreted by the society around her.

    Viliami says: In 1891 Samoa placed the IDL between Hawaii and Samoa, surprisingly Ellen White on her way from Hawaii to Samoa didn’t wrote that she cross the dateline then, instead she wrote “Between Samoa and Auckland we crossed the day-line”

    In another word, the society around Ellen White interpreted the IDL to be between Hawaii and Samoa yet Ellen White wrote “Between Samoa and Auckland we crossed the day-line”

    God bless.

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  27. Dear Viliami,

    Thank you for your patience in this conversation. :) I can understand that it is a very troubling issue, especially if you live in the area affected by this change.

    We are by now all familiar with the fact that Ellen White noted in her diary that she crossed the date line between Samoa and Auckland. I am glad to see that you no longer argue that Ellen White kept a Sunday Sabbath on Samoa -- since she was nowhere near Samoa when she kept Sabbath on the ship. If she were still alive, I think she would be pleased with this progress in the conversation. :)

    Ellen's diary entry contains just a casual reference to crossing the date line. It seems to me that she simply recorded the facts as she saw them while on the ship. I cannot see that it constitutes "a statement about the date line" -- and most certainly not an inspired statement as you seem to regard it.

    I don't understand why you think that Ellen White was aware of any other date line than what she wrote in her diary. Do you have any evidence that she did?

    I also see no evidence in her diary entry that the society around Ellen White (i.e. the people on the boat) interpreted the IDL to be between Hawaii and Samoa. Perhaps you know that from another source? If so, would you please be so kind as to share it?

    If Ellen White had meant to take the kind of stand against the society around her as you say she did, wouldn't you expect to see it written up in her diary and published in the Review and Herald? Instead, Ellen White wrote nothing about disagreeing with any date line on that trip. So I'm afraid that the story about her making "a stand" on the IDL is just that -- a story. I trust it will not be too difficult to let go of that story.

    As for your question, "Do you think it is right for me to follow Ellen White’s example and place the Dateline between Samoa and New Zealand?" I don't see that as a valid question since there is no evidence that Ellen White had any intention and much less the authority to "place the Dateline." And I rather suspect that you do not have the power or authority to "place the Dateline" either, any more than I have such authority.

    You wrote:

    But the scenario that Ellen White faced back then in 1891, is the same scenario we are facing today in 2012, because Western Samoa is placing the IDL between Hawaii and Samoa, while the SDA Church of Western Samoa is placing the IDL between Samoa and New Zealand, just like Ellen White did back then.

    I already mentioned that Ellen White did not demonstrate any intention nor did she have the authority in the matter of "placing the IDL." And it seems to me that no church organization has been given the power or authority of "placing the IDL."

    It seems to me that the IDL is very much like the borders of a country. It remains where the governments of countries rule that it is, regardless of any individual or church claims to the contrary.

    In the current situation, it seems to me that Paul's counsel in Romans 13:1 would apply: "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God."

    (On the other hand, if you do not accept that the government has the authority to move the date line in 2011, consistency suggests that you not accept the authority of the government to move the date line in 1892 either. In that case, Friday would have been the real seventh-day Sabbath for the last 120 years, and Saturday would be the seventh day now.)

    When opposition to government decisions results in Seventh-day Adventists worshiping on Sunday, the mark of Rome's authority, it should give them pause to re-consider the moral implications of their decision. I should think that all Seventh-day Adventists would want to avoid being seen as honoring the day that man substituted for the God-created seventh-day Sabbath.

    I realize that many people believe they are keeping Sabbath when they are keeping Sunday, and I believe that until the matter is presented clearly before them and they reject the Holy Spirit's conviction on the matter, the Lord honors their sincerity of heart in worshiping Him on the first day of the week.

    But if your reason for keeping Sunday as "Sabbath" rests on the arguments you have presented, I trust that you will be persuaded to join me in worshiping on the day that points to the authority of the God of heaven, rather than to the authority of Rome.

    If you have any other concerns regarding the matter, please feel free to share them. :)

    I pray that we will meet in the heavenly Kingdom, if not before. :) (We won't have any misunderstandings about the date line there. :) )

    In Christian love,
    Inge Anderson

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  28. Dear Brother Viliami,

    I believe you have made it abundantly clear that your position is one of upholding the original 180th meridian date line, and denying the right of the Samoan government to change or ignore it.

    Your anecdotal evidence, clearly intended to imply a divine sanction or approval upon the 180th as a “Sabbath-keeping date line,” does not strike me as very convincing. The original International Dateline was set up by a committee of governments foreign to Samoa, and it was only ever a convention of human devising, not of divine ordinance.

    The passengers and crew of the ship, on which Ellen White was traveling, happened to be observing days and time according to this convention. Both her Sabbath keeping aboard the ship and her statement concerning the IDL seem consistent with this. I see no evidence that she was even aware the Samoan populace was following another system, much less that God had required her to decree or endorse a convention to be followed by all nations until the close of time. Indeed, had God required this, would that not have made Him the author of confusion?

    I find it curious that you would allow a committee of foreign governments authority over timekeeping in Samoa, but deny that authority to the Samoan government. This would seem especially strange if you are a Samoan yourself.

    May God grant wisdom and understanding to all who seek Him with a sincere heart.

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  29. Inge wrote:

    Thank you for your patience in this conversation. I can understand that it is a very troubling issue, especially if you live in the area affected by this change.

    We are by now all familiar with the fact that Ellen White noted in her diary that she crossed the date line between Samoa and Auckland. I am glad to see that you no longer argue that Ellen White kept a Sunday Sabbath on Samoa — since she was nowhere near Samoa when she kept Sabbath on the ship. If she were still alive, I think she would be pleased with this progress in the conversation.

    Dear Inge, what troubles me is how sincerely members of the SDA believe that Saturday is the 7th day of the Bible. I understand that you and others choose to disregard Ellen White’s example in regards to the IDL, and thanks for all the reasons you gave, but I simply see no reasons why I should also disregard her example.

    I cannot argue for or against Ellen White’s statement, whether it was inspired or not, but what I can say is that her example is good enough for me. Also the examples of pioneers and missionaries who first entered countries such as Tonga. Their example is also good enough for me as well. I am absolutely sure that the Holy Spirit was right there with them when they decided that the 7th day Sabbath of the bible coincide with Sunday and not Saturday. It just means that Sunday (man made 1st day of the week) falls on the 7th day of the Bible. It also mean that Saturday (man made 7th day) coincide with the 6th day of creation.

    It’s good to see some smiling faces! he he he

    Inge wrote:

    It seems to me that the IDL is very much like the borders of a country. It remains where the governments of countries rule that it is, regardless of any individual or church claims to the contrary.

    In the current situation, it seems to me that Paul’s counsel in Romans 13:1 would apply: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”

    Dear Inge, I am sorry, but I don’t think this is what Paul meant. The Government of Samoa here is dictating the people of Samoa when to worship.

    The government of Samoa said, this week we’ll have Sunday 25 December 2011 (creation Day1), Monday 26 Dec (Creation Day2), Tuesday 27 Dec (Creation Day3), Wednesday 28 Dec (Creation Day4), Thursday 29 Dec (Creation Day5), Saturday 31 Dec (Creation Day6), Sunday 1st Jan 2012 (Creation Day7 = Sabbath Day).

    This is where the problem lies, because Samoa moved from Thursday 29th Dec 2011 (Creation Day5) to Saturday 31st Dec (Creation Day6). Now Day7 of creation coincide with Sunday. This is just a coincidence.

    Sunday is not the Sabbath day, it just so happen that the 7th day of creation coincide with Sunday. Tomorrow, if Samoa decides to move the dateline again to the other side, we will have the 7th day coincide with Saturday again. It doesn’t mean that Saturday is the Sabbath day.

    The point? I don’t believe Paul will encourage anyone to be subject to the governing authorities and call Day6 (Saturday) of creation the Sabbath day.

    Perhaps I may stress this a bid more next time?

    God bless

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    • Dear Viliami,

      Thank you for being so patient in repeatedly explaining why Sunday is the real seventh day in Samoa (and Tonga).

      Unless I have not followed your reasoning correctly, you base your understanding on these factors:

      1) You believe that Ellen White "placed the date line" somewhere other than where it is today.

      2) The pioneer missionaries in Tonga decided that Tongan reckoning of time was incorrect and that Sunday was really the seventh day of the week. And you believe they chose the right day to worship.

      3) You see a problem in Samoa skipping a day and having a short week.

      I have written on those subjects earlier.

      You have given us several counting lessons, and I believe I can now count to seven. ;) But the problem with the lesson is that the starting day is in doubt.

      When we look at how the world was populated after the great Flood, it is reasonably evident that the South Pacific islands were populated by people from the west, and these people would have brought their "week" with them, thus keeping Asian time, or time to the west of the current IDL. So now the Samoan government chose to go back to ancient time.

      Have you considered which day Jesus would keep if He were here now? If you believe that the Sabbath is definitely tied to geography rather than society, you might want to take a good look at a globe and the time zones. Which day shares some real-time Sabbath hours at Jerusalem? Is it Saturday, or is it Sunday? Which day is closer to the one Jesus kept?

      I am also curious about something else. Is it possible for you to do some research into Maori history and Tongan history to find out the names of the days before the European missionaries, traders and settlers came? I have no idea what these would be or what these names would mean, but I'm really interested to know the answer.

      I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you and all other Pacific Island Seventh-day Adventists, including the SPD, to re-examine the Sabbath issue in preparation for the final crisis which will soon be upon us. I believe we need to become united on the identity of the seventh-day Sabbath before then..

      Even more importantly, may we all draw so close to Jesus that He will enable us to give a consistent witness in favor of His truth and character of love.

      In His love,
      Inge Anderson

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      • Dear Inge, me giving counting lessons? :) no, I’m just making sure I can count to 7, and not missing or repeating numbers :)

        The starting point is no problem, since everyone in Western Samoa and abroad (all SDA) agrees that last year (2011) the 7th day Sabbath was on Saturday. Both 7th days coincided with Saturday last year. We are only having a problem starting at the beginning of this year when Samoa decided to go from Thursday 29th (Dec 2011) to Saturday 31st (Dec 2011). In another word, this problem arises when Western Samoa decided to shift the IDL from one side of the country to the other side, but before that, we were cool/ok. Today (2012), we have 2 different 7th days falling on 2 different days of the week, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday.

        You asked “Is it possible for you to do some research into Maori history and Tongan history to find out the names of the days before the European missionaries, traders and settlers came?” I know that in pre-European Tongan history, there were 13 Months as compare to the 12 Months today. As for the names of days, I don’t remember ever coming across Tongan names of days other than the translation of the days we have today. For example, Monday = Monite, Tuesday = Tusite, Wednesday = Pulelulu, Thursday = Tu’apulelulu, Friday = Falaite. I don’t even know if Tonga had a weekly cycle? Or if they did, they could have had 8 or 10 days in a week? I’ve just rang some retired Tongan teacher, and he was at a loss as well, but I will try and get to the bottom of this, even if it will take me a while.

        I am a bid reluctant to talk about the Tongan names of the week (Modern), because most Tongan are even confuse about this, and can you imagine what it does to those who are not Tongan? If you ask a Tongan (living in Tonga) which day is the first day of the week in Tonga, most will tell you it’s Monite (Monday). Not yet confuse? Good

        Falaite (Friday) is followed by Tokonaki and then Sapate. Now, Tokonaki is translated from Preparation Day and Sapate is translated from Sabbath. Sound familiar? There is no Tongan translation for Saturday nor Sunday. Still not confuse yet? Good

        Question: which day is Preparation day falls on or coincide with? Isn’t it Friday?

        Question: What is the day before the Sabbath Day? Isn’t it Friday?

        In Tonga (Tongan language), Falaite (Friday) is follow by Tokonaki (Preparation Day), then by Sapate (Sabbath). I know! You must be confuse by now. :)

        Don’t worry, the late King Tupou4 (passed away), addressed this problem many years back. He specifically told (via radio) the nation that the only church who got the Bible Sabbath Day right in Tonga was the SDA. The King belongs to the Wesleyan church.

        In Tonga, I doubt if there is a single person who don’t know about the SDA. Yes, I believe that 100% of Tongans know about the SDA, about their lifestyle, about their beliefs, etc.

        When the final crisis arrives, SDA wouldn’t be flooding to Tonga, because every SDA’s whereabouts will be known. Everyone who will be looking will know where to find SDAs.

        I believe, Western Samoa will be no different to Tonga when it comes to the final crisis. If people are worrying that the differences will be less effective today? I wouldn’t be worrying about that, because it is not a problem in Tonga today.

        Thanks Inge for saying “Even more importantly, may we all draw so close to Jesus that He will enable us to give a consistent witness in favor of His truth and character of love.”

        God bless

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        • Dear Viliami,

          Thank you for your good-humored reply. :)

          Thank you for sharing a bit about the Maori and Tongan names of the week. :) It does sound a bit confusing. It seems that the modern Tongan days were named under the influence of Sunday-keeping Christians who arrived in Tonga before Seventh-day Adventists did.

          Now let's go back to counting the days of the week. ;)

          You say "the starting point is no problem," but I rather think it is. The argument for a Sunday Sabbath in Samoa seems to rest upon the argument that the government does not have the right to move the country from one side of the date line to the other.

          Isn't that correct?

          Thus it seems to me that if the government did not have the right to move the country across the date line in 2011, neither did it have the right to move the country across the date line in 1892.

          After all the 1892 move was, by all accounts, a response to American commercial interests. Samoa had been keeping time on the Asian side of the date line since its settlement, which, according to my research, came by way of Asia.

          In fact, when I researched the migration routes of the Pacific, it seems that all the islands were settled through migrations coming from the West. Thus the "real time" in these islands would normally be synchronized with Asian time.

          Thus, rather than the 2011 date line change being a "mistake" by the government of Samoa, this reversal of the 1892 decision made under American pressure could be as justly regarded as the correction of the 1892 mistake. Thus, Samoa is now back to its original time. An "unbroken weekly cycle" since Eden would be in harmony with Asian time, since that's where the settlers came from. (And, incidentally, the old seventh day, Saturday, actually shares the day light hours of the Sabbath with the same weekly Sabbath that Jesus kept.)

          I have only a little idea of how difficult it must be for Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa to adjust to the idea of shifting their reckoning of time from the American side of the date line to the Asian side. For most people it only meant one short week, and then life went on as usual -- as it did for Ellen White when she crossed the date line. It only presents a problem for those who are convinced that the reckoning of time in a specific location on the planet can never change.

          It`s just a fact of life on this planet that the shift from American reckoning to Asian reckoning has to occur somewhere in the Pacific. Unfortunately, that can present a problem for those living close to the somewhat arbitrary zig-zagging boundary of the date line.

          It seems to me that everything would have been a whole lot simpler if the Americans had stayed out of the reckoning of time in the Pacific Islands. Then all the islands would likely be keeping Asian time right now. Unfortunately, we don't have the opportunity to turn back history ...

          Our Redeemer knows the end from the beginning, and He understands the purity of motives, even when Sabbath may be kept on the "wrong" day. May He abundantly bless our brothers and sisters in the Pacific islands with wisdom, love and peace. :)

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  30. I may input new idea but it is not my intention, i just have so many questions about this situation.Can anybody tell me what day other Christians in Samoa(especially protestants Sunday keepers) worship, the new Sunday or the late one? I'm wondering why this confusion has appeared now.Is this story could has no relationship with the Sunday law plans? Is this the shaking truth that will prepare us for "Little time of trouble"? Is this the time to find more truth about Sabbath? We need holy spirit more than ever. I'm only happy because God will provide an answer to this, a way out of trial. He is faithful. I propose that we should not trouble ourselves much because He already has an answer. May God bless you when you are giving this problem to God's hands, lets pray for this seriously.

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    • Dear Rebecca,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. You asked about what day the Sunday keepers of Samoa are observing. The news articles which I have seen indicate that only the Seventh-day Adventist church is objecting to the Samoa government's decision to move the date line. This would seem to imply that the other churches have successfully made the transition, and are observing the new Sunday. Thus, those Adventist churches which have complied with the Mission administration's decision are now conducting worship services alongside the other churches on "Sunday." Perhaps someone in Samoa, or with closer connections there, can enlighten us further on this.

      I believe you've asked some very good questions. As it says in the hymn, "Time makes ancient good uncouth." Thank you for the timely reminder that our God has all the answers.

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  31. Greetings Viliami,

    Forgive me if I do a bit of guessing, but the name “Latu” sounds like a Tongan family name to me. Both my wife and I have taught members of the Tongan Latu family and we have a great deal or respect for them. Their Christian thoughtfulness and kindness for others has been much appreciated. So, if I am right and you are Tongan then I understand where you are coming from in your contribution to this discussion. My brother, John Ashton taught at Beulah College for about 3 years in the 1970s. Furthermore, I have colleagues, Errol Arthur, Lionel Hughes, Peter Truscott and ex-student Mark Hansen, who have also worked at Beulah and we have obviously discussed the Tongan worship-day situation many times. So, while I have never been to Tonga, I am very familiar with the situation. And I am a New Zealander and still understand a little bit of Rugby!

    Clearly, until now the Tongan situation has been almost unique in Adventism, with the Seventh-day Adventist Church worshipping on Sunday. I have to say that I have heard that the Tongan church has faithfully kept the Sabbath on Sunday from sunset to sunset and have been a strong witness for the love of Christ. I appreciate that the situation has of been some concern, particularly with international visitors and with young people moving to New Zealand and Australia. Obviously the change of worship day is challenging when people move around.

    The problem now is that because Samoa has essentially decided to move the IDL so that both Samoa and Tonga are to its west, the Samoan church must decide whether to follow the Tongan example or accept the goverment’s lead and change to the new date. Samoa is further east than Tonga. Consequently my guess is that many Tongan Adventists would feel as though they had been betrayed if Samoan Adventists accepted the new time. I can understand that. If my family had been keeping Sabbath a particular way and then something happened to make it appear that the way I had been keeping it was wrong for 4-5 generations I would be upset as well.

    The issue is a complex one but I believe that in the end it is not a doctrinal issue. We live on a round earth and each day must begin and end somewhere. Changes have been made from time to time as documented already in this discussion. In the absence of any clear Biblical instruction to the contrary it is probably best to accept the locally determined date. Clearly it would be wrong to make a convenience of the IDL to avoid Sabbath. You have probably heard the story (probably apocryphal) of the Indian trader on Taveuni in the Fiji Islands whose shop straddled the 180th meridian back in the days before the IDL was moved further east. He moved his stock from one end of the shop to the other to continue trading 7 days a week when strict Sunday laws forbade Sunday trading! I do not believe any Adventist wants to do that.

    What is the answer? I do not think that it is right that Tongans should be made to feel that accepting the decision about when the Sabbath was to be kept in the early 1900's was wrong. I understand the issues that were apparent at the time. I believe that for the most part Tongans have worshiped honestly and in good faith on Sunday, their seventh day of the week ever since. They have not made a convenience out of the apparent anomaly, and they have always been able to explain a reason for their faith. Maybe if the decision were made today, the outcome would be different. We live in different times and do things differently. Some adjustment may be necessary, but I hope respect is shown for those who have been so faithful before the adjustments are made. God understands.

    The Samoans on the other hand have to make the decision today. It needs to be done in such a way that all Samoan Adventists feel as though they have ownership of that decision. I am not sure that has happened. I am a realist and know that whatever decision is arrived at there will be some dissenters. But I am optimistic enough to believe that given the opportunity to dialog and discuss the problem, a workable solution can be achieved. I feel upset for the Samoan Adventists because the change of the IDL was not something that they had any control over but it has affected them deeply. However I have taught enough Samoans at Avondale to know that there are men and women who are capable of collaborating and making a solution possible. My prayer is that in the coming months the Samoan people dialog and pray about it, and indeed seek outside advice, but that in the end they will achieve a unifying decision. I have seen people lose their faith after crossing the IDL; I do not want to see anyone lose their faith because a country crossed the IDL.

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    • Kiora Maurice,

      The All Blacks? They are awesome! Just unbeatable at the moment, but the Wallabies will be there come next world cup? Will there be a game of rugby in heaven or not? Just don’t put me in the scrum. He he he. Your assessment of me being a Tongan is right, although my father (n mother) who is over 85 is now a Kiwi. I was in Tonga in the 70s when your brother John was in Beulah College. Is he still around? Is he still using the big long cane or electric wire for discipline? He he he, Don’t tell him what I’ve said or he might look for me. He he he :) The other names you’ve mentioned are also familiar to me. I've stayed in Fiji for a while and been to Taveuni also and am aware of your story.

      I’m just disappointed in your assessment of the current situation in Samoa (and Tonga), after your assessment of the latus? he he he :)

      Back to the problem at hand.

      In the absence of any clear biblical instructions, I am sure we can find clear biblical principles, don’t you think?

      On Monday’s lesson this week, this question is asked “What is the first time the concept of holiness is mentioned in scripture?” The answer is also given in the lesson as well in Gen 2:3. In short, it is a part of time, the 7th day of creation became the first thing deemed holy in the bible.

      Question: Is it ok to call the 6th day of creation the Sabbath day? I’ll leave all to think about that.

      2011, SDA churches in American Samoa, Western Samoa and Tonga all celebrate the 7th Day Sabbath of creation on the same day. When the sun set on the same day, all SDA living in these countries celebrated the Sabbath day. American Samoa called that day Saturday, Western Samoa called it Saturday, while Tonga called it Sunday.

      2012 SDA churches in American Samoa, Western Samoa and Tonga all still celebrate the 7th day Sabbath of creation on the same day, but this time while American Samoa still call it Saturday, Western Samoa now call it Sunday instead of Saturday, and Tonga still call it Sunday.

      Clearly from this illustration, the 7th day hasn’t change. The only change is the name given to the 7th day. I am hoping to illustrate this more sometimes in the future.

      I believe this is the right approach, just count from 1 to 7, regardless, of the name, just follow the number 7. After all that is what the bible CLEARLY tells us in Genesis and right throughout to revelation, isn’t it?

      Once we start to follow the name Saturday, we will face so many problems. For example1, Western Samoa moves Saturday a day forward. Meaning, we now call the 6th day the Sabbath instead of the 7th. Example2, Western Samoa decides to move Saturday back. Meaning, we have an 8-day week and now call the 1st (or back to the 7th) day the Sabbath. Example3, Tonga moves the IDL. Example4, Niue moves the IDL. Example5, Kiribati moves the IDL.

      The point? If we follow the name Saturday, it will be chaotic. Plus, who is telling us when to worship? How long then before they start telling us how to worship?

      Do we follow the name Saturday which is control by the government or do we follow the directions of the SDA leaders in Samoa (ultimately from the general conference)?

      Did the leaders of the government of Samoa prayed about this change, especially in regards to the 7th day Sabbath of creation or not?

      Did the leaders of the SDA churches in Samoa prayed about this change, especially in regards to the 7th day Sabbath of creation or not?

      These are valid questions that we must ask and answer.

      God bless.

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      • Kiora Viliami,

        I have almost forgotten my Maori expressions. In fact every time I go home to NZ I find that they have changed the pronunciation of place names so much that I feel lost. I am still a New Zealander although I have lived most of my life in Australia and have an Australian wife and family. My mother (97), sister and family live in Christchurch and dodge earthquakes. My brother John has, like all of us has moved on from the discipline methods of the mid 1900s . He is now the manager of the Crossland's Youth Camp in Sydney. He is host to the Sydney Tongan church when they have they Church camp every year so he meets up with some of his old students now and again.

        Regarding the Sabbath-IDL issue, I hear your argument and understand it. However in all fairness, the situation in Tonga is more the result of a historical series of events rather than a theological argument. It boils down to the issue of where does the new day begin. Either you accept that the 180th meridian is the appropriate place to start a new day, or the IDL is accepted by common consent. We can argue as much as we like about counting from 1-7 but it all depends on where you start and which way you travel around the earth to get to Tonga (Samoa).

        From a purely personal perspective, I would have like to see the IDL much further east in the South Pacific. It would pass through a relatively sparsely populated region and would have grouped the Pacific Islands on the same side of the IDL as NZ and Australia. That is a more natural grouping than we currently have. However I am not in a position to change that so we have to live with what we have got.

        My greatest concern at the moment is that we have Adventists worshiping on Saturday (the 6th or 7th day of the week depending on which argument you follow) and on Sunday (the 7th or 1st day of the week, once again depending on who is doing the arguing). That situation is splitting the church in the area and is cause for concern. I will be honest with you, in that I think Seventh-day Adventists should worship on the locally accepted Saturday as that position would be well understood by both other churches and by non-churched people. Having said that though, I also understand the historical background and I know that a unified solution is not going to come easily. Further, I do not think that those of us who live outside of the area should make the decision for you. It is going to take a long time to resolve the issue and during this period of adjustment, debate, and argument, I am praying that both sides of the argument will treat one another with respect and understanding. My prayer is that both sides will stand in one another's shoes and see the other's point of view. The Bible says that "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." The current situation is a challenge, but it is also an opportunity to show love for one another. I would like people to be able to say that these Seventh-day Adventists have got themselves a bit knotted up about which day is which near the dateline, but, wow what a great example of how to treat one another when they disagree. Now that would be a great witness.

        Viliami that is my prayer for you, and all the Pacific Islanders affected by this issue.

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        • Thank you Maurice, especially for your timely reminder of: [I am praying that both sides of the argument will treat one another with respect and understanding. My prayer is that both sides will stand in one another’s shoes and see the other’s point of view. The Bible says that “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”]

          I understand from experience, the importance of what you are saying. When I came across this discussion by accident, I was very reluctant to post at first, as I know how very human I am or can be, add to that my pacific island kind of humor that some may not understand, plus my deficiency in the English language and it can become a disaster. So a timely reminder is very much appreciated.

          It’s good to hear that John is doing just fine, and we can only have a laugh about the discipline of the 90s. :) Praise God that your family back in Christchurch dodged the earthquake last year.

          As I bring in the next part of my evidence in support of a 7th day Sabbath that co-inside with Sunday in Western Samoa (and Tonga), I hope/guess that this is something you may not have perceived or seen before.

          God bless

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  32. Evening Folks,

    Rebecca, all Christian churches in Samoa now worship on Sunday, including the Samoa Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist church.

    Right now our few members of the Samatau & the Lighthouse SDA Sabbath Keepers are meeting with the Samoa Mission executive to explain why they chose to keep the Seventh Day Sabbath (Saturday).

    So while we are discussing, these folks in Samoa are sharing their Sabbath testimony and expression of conviction.

    They could be disfellowshiped as a result of not following the decision to worship on Sunday.

    How would this look in the local Samoan & Australasian media?

    "Samoan Seventh-day Adventist Members disfellowshipped for keeping the SEVENTH DAY SABBATH."

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  33. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
    Thus a day begins in the east.
    The Biblical world sees the lands east of Jerusalem as the east.
    The lands west of Jerusalem are to the west.
    Thus the Sabbath first dawns in the eastern countries of Japan, China and all the lands in line with them like Australia and New Zealand -- it moves over the Asian continent, into Europe and on to the western continent of the Americas.

    The Sabbath day Saturday is fixed in all the world -- it's not a matter of any government changing the day or the name.

    The only question that arises is in these little Islands in the Pacific which must decide whether they belong to the east to welcome the Sabbath first along with Australia, Japan and New Zealand, or whether they belong to the west and celebrate it last with western America.

    It seems those who want to keep the Sabbath Saturday in Samoan are going to be persecuted by their Sunday keeping brethren. My prayers are with those who refuse to keep Sunday.

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    • In NZ and Australia, and every other country Sunday is the ist day of the week. In Western Samoa now, because they have dropped a day, Sunday is now the 7th Day of the week. In The 4th Commandment The Lord asks us to keep the 7th day holy, He didn't give it a name. So Western Samoa is correct in worshiping on the 7th day which is now called Sunday. The Sabbath keepers haven't moved, but the Sunday keepers now have a problem as one of their arguments for keeping Sunday is in honour of the resurrection of Jesus on the 1st day of the week.

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      • Noeline, that is not correct. Sunday is not the seventh day of the week. Never has been. Never will be. Sabbath is always between Friday and Sunday. The Bible says so. The "dropping of a day" is an illusion, but a necessary one. Samoa is simply moving from the western side of the day to the eastern. Every day takes 48 hours for everyone in the world to observe it.

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        • Noeline's point is clearly obvious. A day has been dropped from the last week of December, 2011 of the Samoan calendar in order for Samoa to make the transition and enable it to adopt time of the Eastern hemisphere. This is acknowledge by the republic of Samoa in it's official statements and and indisputed fact. It would be irrational to argue against that fact.

          So, the "dropping of a day" is not an illusion. While it is an essential one for Samoa to enhance its economic opportunities with its trading partners, namely NZ, Australia, and Asia in the Eastern hemisphere; that does not justify nor make the "6th day of the week" now called "Saturday" the Sabbath day. The IDL may change from time to time, after all, it is a man made and imaginary line (even though it is necessary). But the "Sabbath," the last day of an uninterrupted 7 day cycle is the day clearly stipulated by God as His day of rest.

          The 7th day Sabbath defines the contrast between "Creator" and "creature." The "Creator" determines what he calls "Sabbath," and we as "creatures" obey without question. After all, He is God, and God of the 7th day Sabbath.

          LMO

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  34. R.G> I don't get it... The government changed the calendar to skip over Thursday, so the week in question went from Wednesday to Friday. They didn't skip over the Sabbath so why isn't the Samatsu SDA Church keeping the sabbath instead of Sunday? That's crazy! They should accept the government's decision, enjoy the short week in December and move out with the usual 7th day Sabbath.

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    • I may be slow but this is my take on it. If the government said the week begins on a Monday, making Sunday the 7th day, are you saying we should obey and rest on Sunday according to the law of the land?

      It does not matter what changes the government makes - we should obey God.

      Now with this Samoan issue, it is just as if the government makes Monday the 1st day of the week. I agree with the brethren who decided to still follow the 7 day week cycle as we know it.

      I beg to ask the question, if an employer gives Thursday and Friday as the weekend days, would you Mr. White, go to work on Saturday as a regular work day? Something to think about.

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      • The issue of the date line is not the same as the government simply deciding to rename the days or say that there is a different order. The days are being referenced in exactly the same order as before, and are actually in harmony with other countries that are nearby. If the consistency of the 7-day cycle is of utmost importance, then how does one reconcile the clear difference of days being observed by SDA members in NZ vs Samoa? Are the folks in NZ also wrong?
         
        Additionally, there has been quite a lot of discussion about the unbroken 7-day cycle, but as has recently been pointed out, there have been two changes to the date line for Samoa, yet only one appears to be deemed "bad". Given the fact that the dateline was changed twice, but there has only been resistance to one of these changes, only one of the following conclusions can be correct:
         
        A - The week, as outlined by the Samoan government is now correct and back in cycle with the pre-1892 week, and was thus wrong for 120 years.
         
        B - The week, as outlined by the Samoan government is current wrong, was correct for the past 120 years, but was wrong prior to 1892.
         
        Somehow, as I look at this situation, two thoughts come to mind:
         
        1st thought: Ezekiel 8:16
        2nd thought: This issue will likely obtain even more publicity soon, and might be God's instrument of shaking up His church. This is not a regional or local issue by any stretch of the imagination.
         
        -ASB

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      • Dear Juliet,

        Andrew has more or less answered for me. The Samoa government was choosing between two alternative weekly cycles -- the Asian week and the American week, each of which can be traced back to Creation Week in an unbroken cycle, but in opposite directions around the globe. This is what I mean by staying "within reason." Simply calling Sunday the 7th day of the week, in any given country, with Monday as the 1st day, etc., would just be a lie.

        Andrew, Saturday as the Sabbath in Samoa, prior to the 2011 change, was correct and traceable back to creation (to the earthly ministry of Christ, actually, and to creation by implication) by an eastward orientation across the Americas. Saturday as the Sabbath in Samoa, now, is also correct and traceable back to creation by a westward orientation across Asia. Having to do a one-time 6-day week in order to adjust between the two is arguably a technical inconsistency, but in my view it is fully justified on the basis of the teaching of Christ that "the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." Local custom, within reason, tells us when the sun sets on the 6th day of the week, and the Sabbath arrives. I believe that God expects us to enter the kingdom of heaven as little children, if we are going to get in at all.

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  35. Thank you, John, for sharing your perspective. It is true that the Sunday keeping position is based on a theory, which has already been thoroughly explained by its proponents on this blog. Perhaps you will not be quite so shocked and surprised at what is happening, if you meditate on the words of Christ as recorded in Matthew 11:25-26.

    Please allow me to correct a couple of your evident misconceptions concerning the facts. The government actually skipped over Friday, a minor difference IMO. This means that, in their one-off six-day week, the Sabbath keepers would have had to begin their Sabbath observance at sunset on Thursday evening, since the next day was Saturday. I doubt that you would see this as a problem.

    You may be surprised to understand that it is the entire Samoa-Tokelau Mission whose leadership has chosen to implement the Sunday theory. Not counting Samoa’s “independent Seventh-day Adventists,” there are only two groups still meeting on Saturday morning in the independent state of Samoa. One is the Samatau SDA Church. The other is the Lighthouse group, meeting on Mt. Vaea, and consisting of members (former attendees) of a number of Adventist churches, principally the English-speaking Emmanuel Church. These other SDA churches are now meeting on Sunday.

    I am confident that God is still in control, and that all will unfold according to His unsearchable wisdom.

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  36. This article was written by Dr Barry Oliver, the current president of the South Pacific Division.

    It can be found in the “RECORD”, the official news magazine of the South Pacific Division of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Vol 117 No2 February 4th 2012
    www.record.net.au

    It seems to me that the Samoan mission wasn't making this decision alone?

    Government changes calendar:
    Adventists Respond

    What would you do if it was legislated that this coming Friday was going to be named Saturday and this coming Saturday was going to be named Sunday? Which day would you honour as the Sabbath of the Lord?

    Almost everyone reading these words will be saying to themselves that this is a hypothetical question which they will never have to worry about in reality. But for some, the question is not hypothetical at all. The situation I have just described is exactly what has just occurred in Samoa. At the end of 2011, Friday, December 30, was legislated out of existence. The sixth day of that week was called “Saturday” and the seventh day was called “Sunday”. And so it continues.

    The observance of the seventh day as the Sabbath of the Lord is of vital importance for Seventh-day Adventists. We do not worship on the Sabbath because it is called “Saturday”. We worship on the Sabbath because it is the “seventh day”. It is holy time set aside and sanctified by God from the time of creation. The first of the three angels’ messages affirms that its sacredness is to be heralded by the people of God at the very end of time. We have always been very particular about Sabbath worship. We have insisted that loyalty to God involves loyalty to His command to “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy”. And we have consistently said that we follow the Lord when He determined that “the seventh day is the Sabbath” (Exodus 20:8-11).

    In anticipation of the change in the names of the days in the weekly cycle, the executive committee and administration of the Samoas—Tokelau Mission spent a considerable amount of time planning for its consequences. They considered the importance of the biblical Sabbath for Seventhday Adventists and that it is essential that the seventh day Sabbath be preserved. They studied the historical, geographical and political data with respect to the determination of the International Date Line, the impact of the change on our Church in Samoa and of the choice which had to be made. They consulted widely with the church membership in Samoa and sought counsel from the Trans- Pacific Union and the South Pacific Division.

    Because our Church has consistently held that human agencies do not have the prerogative to arbitrarily change the Sabbath, and because the seventh-day in Samoa is now called Sunday, our Church is worshipping on a day which is no longer called “Saturday”. It is called “Sunday”. Of course, this is cause for pause. And we must admit that there is a level of discomfort because of the name of the day. But nowhere does Scripture use the names of the week that are used today to determine the Sabbath. Sabbath rest is not in Scripture attached to “Saturday”. It is always observed on the “seventh day”.

    The issue has been carefully studied by the Biblical Research Committee of the South Pacific Division. Over a five year period the issue was researched comprehensively, especially in relation to the situation in Tonga where a similar practice has been followed for many years after that nation also skipped a day of the week in order to align its calendar with New Zealand, Australia and Asia. More recently, the same predicament has been recognised in Wallis and Futuna, and parts of Kiribati. The Biblical Research Committee of the Division and the General Conference have endorsed the practice of our Church in these island nations that find themselves in a unique situation with respect to the date line. The executive committee of the South Pacific has adopted a position statement in support of those who are facing this difficult decision. The statement, together with extensive study resources on the subject, may be accessed at . http://adventist.org.au/samoa-dateline-change-2011

    We understand that it may take a little time for our church members to adjust to this situation. The Church must show grace toward those who may see the situation differently. But while there may be some ambiguity in the mind of some as they consider issues around the location of the International Date Line, it is hoped that unity in thought and practice will emerge fully in our Church in Samoa. God has a great work for us to do in Samoa and we will accomplish that as we move forward together.

    God bless

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    • This is actually good now the Sunday worshippers will actually worship on the true sabbath instead!

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      • Hi Brendon,

        How can it be a true Sabbath when it is a Sunday? When the SDAs go to church on the same day with the rest of the other church goers, should that not make some bells ring and know they are worshiping on the first day of the week? Does that mean that all the other non SDA churches in Samoa now keep the "Sabbath"? Could the mission not see the confusion claiming to keep the Sabbath on Sunday when everyone else goes to church on Sunday, thus making it easy for the non Sabbath keepers to convert the SDAs from Sabbath keeping to Sunday keeping? I see this has affected evangelism. But we are still praying.

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      • Brendan, why would that be good? Salvation by works or by default? In fact the Adventists are now worshipping on Sunday. Who would have thought?

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  37. Dear Viliami,

    Dr Barry Oliver refers to "the situation in Tonga where a similar practice has been followed for many years after that nation also skipped a day of the week in order to align its calendar with New Zealand, Australia and Asia."

    That is different from everything I have read on the subject, and I would appreciate your pointing me to documentation that Tonga skipped a day of the week in order to align its calendar with New Zealand.

    As I understand it, "the first resident Adventist missionaries, Pastor Edward Hilliard, his wife Ida, and two-year old daughter Alta, arrived in Tonga on August 30, 1895." They apparently felt that the Tongan week was "wrong" and decided that the Tongan Sunday was really the seventh day of the week. Thus they established Sabbath keeping on Sunday. See Tonga & Niue"

    I have spent a great deal of time researching this matter, but I cannot find any evidence that Tonga moved across the IDL either before or after this date. So I would really appreciate some help on this matter. Perhaps you have access to better resources.

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    • Dear Inge, I cannot answer for Barry Oliver. But please don’t forget the big picture from this article?

      1. Samoa Mission (Sabbath that coincide with Sunday) has support from the South Pacific Division

      2. I am assuming SM has the support of the GC?

      3. The issue has been carefully studied by the Biblical Research Committee of the South Pacific Division over a five year period

      4. The executive committee and administration of the Samoas—Tokelau Mission
      • Spent a considerable amount of time planning for its consequences
      • They considered the importance of the biblical Sabbath for Seventhday Adventists and that it is essential that the seventh day Sabbath be preserved
      • They studied the historical, geographical and political data with respect to the determination of the International Date Line, the impact of the change on our Church in Samoa and of the choice which had to be made
      • They consulted widely with the church membership in Samoa and sought counsel from the Trans-Pacific Union and the South Pacific Division

      God bless

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      • Firstly I would like to point out that when in New Zealand we claim that Gisborne is the first place in the world to see the sun, and then over here in Samoa Falealupo in Savaii claims to be the first point to see the sun. Both are right because the sun rises at around the same time at these two places. The only thing that placed Samoa 24 hrs. away from New Zealand was a dateline.

        I was here in Samoa when Paul Cavanagh presented the one-sided argument for Samoans worshipping on Sunday; nobody had any information except what was presented. When Paul was questioned on the dateline his only comment was that "God was a God of order and that HE would have been in control of the dateline." The reason for Samoa to continue the same day worship into Sunday worship was that this was a carry-on from creation. WHY HAS THIS DECEPTION BEEN ABLE TO DEVELOP??

        Never was the dateline discussed, nor were the people told that when the dateline was put in place 2 Mondays were added to that week, making it an 8-day week. The devil has been here on earth for 6000 years and I think it would be very unwise to presume that he had nothing to do with traders from America wanting Samoa on their side of the dateline, knowing full well what effects this would bring on the people of Samoa in these end times. The Samoan people are a beautiful people, loyal and so often unquestioning in their obedience of leaders.

        There are many people staying home and worshiping in their own homes, and a growing group of us who worship every Sabbath. Out of adversity is the kindling of revival. We will never worship on Sunday, even if we are disfellowshiped. We are not allowed to worship in our churches, and we were for a time worshiping at the govt. prayer house. As from next week we will set up a marquee at our property in Tulaele and will continue to worship on the Sabbath.

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        • Thank you Lance for giving us first-hand information about Paul Cavanagh's one-sided presentation and the nature of the beautiful, loyal people who never question(ed) authority. I am, however, saddened by the fact that you are "not allowed" to worship in "our churches," surprised that persecution is coming from within. This is in fact Satan's strategy to disrupt God's people and prevent the good work from going on, now concentrating on internal disputes. But keep heart and tell the faithful people out there that God is in control, that we are all praying for you for strength to stand firm in spite of all this. I don't understand how you can be "dis-fellowshiped" for keeping the Sabbath day holy. We pray that God will strengthen you spiritually and enable you to "hold fast" the confession of your hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful - Hebrews 10:23.

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    • Inge,
      As I understand it the Tongan Sabbath keeping was established before there was an official dateline. The missionaries came from the West and established Western Sabbath keeping time. A decade later, when the government established the dateline, they decided on the Eastern reckoning of time. Adventists in Tonga did make a mistake sticking with the seven-day-sequence theory, but an understandable one. Why should Samoa be advised to make the same mistake just to save face for Tonga? Will this kind of thing stand up in the judgment? I don't think so . . .

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      • Dear John,

        Thank you for your invaluable contributions to this discussion. Just a couple of clarifications on the historical facts:

        1) The only official date line that has ever existed is one determined by the collective local decisions and customs, in the same way as the date line was drawn before it ever became official -- no real difference before and after 1884.

        2) The Pacific islands -- and Tonga in particular -- seem to have been without a weekly cycle until the arrival of the first (non-Adventist) missionaries, who established the Asian week there.

        3) When the attempt was made, starting in 1884, to encourage a uniform date line, some countries (such as Samoa) changed to the American week, and some (such as Tonga) never did.

        4) It seems the first (American) Adventist missionaries to Tonga (late in the 19th century) attempted to establish the American week there. If that's what they had in mind, however, they did not succeed in changing the local custom. They merely started their Adventist converts off with Sunday as their "7th-day Sabbath." Understandable? One horrific blunder? This is primarily a conversation about Samoa, not Tonga, so we really can't address that here.

        5) The 1892 decision of Samoa, to change to the American week, does appear to be a recognition of the attempt at a uniform date line. However, the evidence (having Monday, July 4, twice) would seem to suggest that the motives behind the change were far from theoretical.

        This is my understanding of the historical facts, from the evidence I've seen so far. Anyone is welcome to correct me.

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        • R G, I disagree that this is only about Samoa. Why can't Adventists, of all people, have the humility to admit that they got it wrong, whether last week or last century, and now will put it right? We ask people every week to confess their sins, repent and turn around to a life of obedience. Yet somehow the church can't do it! Have you ever wondered why evangelism is moving so slowly?

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  38. Two 7th days, 2 Sabbaths, Two 7-day cycles (For SDAs only & not other churches)

    This of course leads to 2 different types of SDAs. One group of SDAs follows the name Saturday = Saturday SDAs, and the other group of SDAs follow the number 7.

    1. MAN-made 7-day CYCLE
    • Sunday = 1st day (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
    • Monday = 2nd day (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
    • Tuesday = 3rd day (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
    • Wednesday = 4th day (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
    • Thursday =5th day (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
    • Friday = 6th day (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
    • Saturday = 7th day = SABBATH (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

    R G White already gave us the Merriam-Webster dictionary. “Definition of SATURDAY: the seventh day of the week”

    Going to the same Merriam-Webster dictionary for the definition of Sabbath: “Definition of Sabbath: the seventh day of the week observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening as a day of rest and worship by Jews and some Christians”

    Note:
    a. This 7 day cycle start with Sunday (1st day) and end with Saturday (7th day)
    b. There is absolute no link between this Sabbath (Saturday) and the creation week
    c. Sabbath follows 7th day which MUST ALWAYS follow the name Saturday
    d. There is no verse in the whole bible that support a Friday evening to Saturday evening Sabbath
    e. The name Sunday, Monday, Tuesday …..Saturday are man-made and not God-made
    f. The word Sunday ….. Saturday (Sabbath) are not even found in the bible at all
    g. Days (1, 2, 3 …) is attached/fixed to the man-made names such as Saturday
    h. Saturday DOES NOT follow 7th day nor Sabbath
    i. This 7th day was made (origin) by humans

    2. GOD-made 7-day CYCLE
    • 1st day (Gen 1:5)
    • 2nd day (Gen 1:8)
    • 3rd day (Gen 1:13)
    • 4th day (Gen 1:19)
    • 5th day (Gen 1:23)
    • 6th day (Gen 1:31)
    • 7th day ( Gen 2:2,3) = SABBATH

    Going to the bible for the definition of Sabbath: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy ..... But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God ..... ” Exo 20:8,10

    Question: What 7th day or 7-day cycle is this verse talking about?

    Answer: “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Exo 20:11

    This 7th day (Sabbath) points all the way back to the very beginning of time or creation week when the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is.

    Note:
    a) This 7-day cycle starts with 1st day and end with 7th day also
    b) There’s a link between this 7th day Sabbath with creation week (Gen 2:2,3 & Exo 20:8-11)
    c) This 7th day Sabbath is grounded in the bible (Gen 2:2,3 & Exo 20:8-11)
    d) This Sabbath doesn’t have a name, only a number (Gen 2:2,3)
    e) Sabbath is attached/fixed to the 7th day (Exo 20:8,10)
    f) This 7th day is not attached/fixed to Saturday nor any other name of day (Gen 2:2,3)
    g) This 7th day was made (origin) by God (Gen 2:2,3)

    COMMENT: Clearly, one group of SDAs follow a man-made 7-day cycle or man-made 7th day or man-made Sabbath which is clearly define by the Merriam-Webster dictionary. This 7th day Sabbath is not flexible and must be kept on SATURDAY. Where ever or whenever one finds Saturday, one must keep that day as the Sabbath.

    Whereas on the other hand, the other group of SDAs ONLY follows a NUMBER (7). Where ever or whenever one finds this number 7, one must keep that day as the Sabbath. In most countries, this number 7 coincide with the name Saturday but sometimes this number 7 coincide with the name Sunday. Who knows, maybe in the near future this number 7 might coincide with the name Tuesday?

    So the big question is “Which 7th day Sabbath are you following?”

    God Bless

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    • This 7 day cycle which you keep referring to did not start at creation, it started in the late 1800s when they instigated the dateline. This is the same misrepresentation that keeps being used to confuse and destroy.

      FACT
      When the dateline was instigated American traders sent a delegation to Samoa asking that it be on the west side of the dateline because of trading purposes. They received a positive response and on the week that the dateline was put in place a 8 day week was observed in Samoa, 2 Mondays were installed in that week. This put Samoa out of line with the roll on creation week and following the date change in December last year would have put Samoa back in line with the creation week.

      The same argument above is why we see so many Samoans deceived into worshipping on Sunday and destroying the 3 angels' message here in the islands. This was all detailed in [a] report and this was given to the mission leaders in November last year and shelved. We only received this [...] report in January after the change of date, and we only got it because it was sent to us from [someone outside the SPD].

      This is a confusing issue until all the details are worked out in one’s head, and many a dedicated Samoan that we share the truth with will tell us that the Sabbath has nothing to do with the dateline.

      We observe the consequences of the instigation of this new day of worship, we observe many of the youth racing of to play their sports on Saturday, and many now attending cultural events that the seventh day Sabbath kept them from. We are living at the midnight hour in earth’s history and God has to be number one in our lives, the devil is subtle but maybe this is God refining those who are truly open to HIM. Both sides have to evaluate their true connection with Christ and revival is taking place! [Edited 4:00 am GMT Feb 9, 2012 to remove unnecessary details]

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      • Hi Lance, can you clear up a few things? I’m sorry but I didn’t quite get some of the things you are saying.

        I understand that you are saying that this year (2012) the Sabbath is on Saturday, but what about last year (2011), was the Sabbath on Saturday as well? Or was it on Friday or Sunday or another day?

        God bless.

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        • Dear Latu

          If Samoa had such a vigilant church (as it is now) back at the time of the dateline, then our people would have stuck to the 7 day creation cycle, but sadly the church was in its infantcy. And when the early church started worshiping along with America back then and they did actually put themselves out of line with the 7 day cycle from creation. My brother, as I see it, if you claim that Sunday is the Sabbath in the 7 day cycle, your cycle started 120 years ago when a day was added. To observe the 7 day cycle from creation you will have go back 120 years and delete the extra Monday that was put in place at the dateline. When you do this you will find that the seven day cycle from creation does actually fall on Saturday in our modern week!!!
          I hope this explains things, God bless

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      • Lance can you put up in a table frame your argument of the 7 Day weekly cycle before the 1892 Day changed and after please?

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        • Hi Boss
          I have table frames I can show you, there is a basic principle here. If you ADD a day to a week and then SUBTRACT a day from a week 120 years later you arrive on the same day. But if you ADD a day to a week and then 120 years later you refuse to SUBTRACT a day then you end up keeping that added day.

          In the case of the Sabbath which we all hold so dear ADDING a day takes us outside the 7 day creation cycle, and refusing to SUBTRACT a day 120 years later keeps us outside that 7 day creation cycle.
          I hope this helps, God bless!

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    • I believe Lance is saying that the 7-day cycle now advocated for reckoning the correct Sabbath began in 1892, not at creation. And it seems to me that he is correct.

      The 2011 move of Samoa to the western side of the date line was actually going to back to the original time keeping in Samoa, and it moves Samoa back to keeping Sabbath on the same seventh day that Jesus kept it. (And that would be the modern Saturday.)

      Some would then say that Samoa kept the wrong Sabbath for 120 years, but I don't think that's right. When Samoa was on the eastern side of the date line, Samoan Adventists kept Sabbath with America, and that was proper. Now that Samoa has moved back to its original side of the date line, it would seem proper to keep Sabbath with Australia, New Zealand, Asia and also Palestine.

      It will probably take time to sort these things out, and I pray that the Lord will give our dear brothers and sisters in Samoa the necessary wisdom, and that a genuine revival will continue among all Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa. Such a revival will be recognized by the love members demonstrate to each other and the world, because Jesus said, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35 NIV)

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      • Thanks Inge, you are saying that Saturday this year (2012) is the Sabbath, and Saturday last year (2011) was also the Sabbath.

        You know what? I totally agree with you. This is why.

        Week International Date-Line Change:

        Creation-Day7  Saturday (man-Day7 [Man-Sabbath]) 24/12/11
        Creation-Day1  Sunday (man-Day1) 25/12/11
        Creation-Day2  Monday (man-Day2) 26/12/11
        Creation-Day3  Tuesday (man-Day3) 27/12/11
        Creation-Day4  Wednesday (man-Day4) 28/12/11
        Creation-Day5  Thursday (man-Day5) 29/12/11
        Creation-Day6  Saturday (man-Day7 [Man- Sabbath]) 31/12/11
        Creation-Day7  Sunday (man-Day1) 1/1/12

        The Sabbath you are describing matches the man-made Sabbath for the following reasons:

        • The name Saturday controls the Sabbath. Where ever and whenever humans move Saturday, the Sabbath MUST follow
        • This Sabbath is a servant to the name Saturday (master)
        • This weekly cycle can be cut short (6 days) or prolong (8 days) when ever humans (government) desire
        • This Sabbath is describe by humans (Merriam-Webster dictionary) as: “seventh day of the week observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening as a day of rest and worship by Jews and some Christians”
        • This Sabbath ALWAYS follows the name Saturday. Why? Because humans said so (dictionary)

        The Sabbath of the Bible (Genesis) is a different Sabbath altogether from the Sabbath you are describing for the following reasons:

        • This 7-days cycle week follow that first week @ creation, with numbers only and no names at all
        • In creation week, 1st day is always followed by 2nd day, 3rd day, 4th day, 5th day, 6th day, 7th day. So is it ever since.
        • This Sabbath is based on God’s character who “ ... is the same yesterday, today, and forever” Heb 13:8
        • This 7-days cycle doesn’t slow down for anyone, nor stop for anyone
        • This Sabbath ALWAYS follows creation DAY 7. Why? Because God said so Exo 20:8-11
        • This Sabbath DOES NOT follow Saturday. Why? Because God said so Exo 20:8-11

        God bless

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        • Dear Viliami,

          I am glad to see such an interesting discussion. I'd also like to address the Sabbath described by Inge, because I feel it is worthy of closer consideration.

          I believe you are correct in pointing out that this Sabbath is affected by government decisions, which are human, but I think that you may have missed the true reason why this is so. It's not because the Sabbath is ruled by specific words or dictionaries. No, it's because the Sabbath of the Bible (Mark 2) was "made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."

          It was O.K. for David and his men to eat the showbread, contrary to the law, because in God's wisdom necessity trumps technical correctness. This, according to Jesus, is also why it was O.K. for the disciples to pluck (harvest) grain, rub it (thresh it) in their hands, and eat it on the Sabbath.

          This is also why I believe it is O.K. to make adjustments in our Sabbath keeping when government makes a change in the weekly cycle -- within reason. So, rather than a focus on the merely technical question of which of the two days traces back to the Sabbath of creation week (each does, in its own way, after all), I'd like to see a discussion of whether the Samoa government's action to change the weekly cycle was within reason, and whether our observing Sabbath on the generally recognised 7th day of the week, wherever we may happen to be, is really necessary.

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        • Dear R G White, thanks for your comment. I hope/believe I have digested it accurately. :)

          You gave some reasons then said “This is also why I believe it is O.K. to make adjustments in our Sabbath keeping when government makes a change in the weekly cycle — within reason.” I am afraid I cannot leave the 7th day of the Bible (creation) to keep the 7th day of man (Saturday) which is now coincide with the 6th day of the bible 7-day cycle.

          Diana said it well “Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa (western) have not become Sunday worshipers, they are continuing to worship on the seventh-day Sabbath which currently falls on Sunday”

          Diana also said “Man can shift sides (timeline) and shorten weeks, but God’s seventh-day cycle remains forever” It reminds me of Heb 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

          God bless

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        • Viliami, why do you count Creation days from 1892, rather than before 1891?

          I do not understand why you believe that your "Creation Day 1" falls on Monday, rather than Sunday in 2012. Please help me to understand your thinking.

          You have listed your "Creation Days" several times, but it seems to me that you have not demonstrated that your "Creation Day 1" is actually the same as the real Creation Day 1 when God said, "Let there be light." Just saying so repeatedly doesn't make it so. (And it matters not who else says so.)

          If you are so certain that your list of "Creation Days" is the right basis for Sabbath keeping, please share with us the basis of your certainty -- how you concluded that your "Creation Day 7" is the same as the original Sabbath, rather than the seventh day of the current week in Samoa, which is generally named Saturday. (We are all agreed that the name makes no difference.)

          I believe that when we look at the realities of Sabbath on a round planet, it becomes obvious that the nations in the Pacific have a choice of whether to count the days on the American side of the Pacific or the Asian side of the Pacific. Counting the days on either side of the date line can be traced back to Jesus, and that satisfies me, because I believe He knew the correct Sabbath to keep. After all He announced Himself to be Lord of the Sabbath.

          I don't understand how you come up with a different cycle of "Creation Days" going all the way back to Creation.

          As a side note: If the government did not have the right to move Samoa across the date line in 2012, consistency demands that it did not have the right to move Samoa across the date line in 1892 either.
          [Originally posted Feb 9 and edited Feb 15 to clarify]

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      • Inge you are wrong if thats how you come up with the 7th day Sabbath is by name Saturday then i see you're confused. The 7th Day Sabbath in Samoa remains even when day changes are made by different governments. your point is whenever a government come up with a new change of days we followed. Well thats not how Seveth Day Adventist members should do unless we're Saturday Adventist.

        You tell me, howcome Samoa and American Samoa who are in the same location on the world map and you can see American Samoa island from Samoa have different day of worship?

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        • Hi Boss

          American Samoa and Samoa have had the same day of worship because when the dateline was put in place, they both added a day. This was to put them in line with America. The sun rises in New Zealand and Samoa at exactly the same time every day. The only reason Samoa and American Samoa were 24hrs apart from New Zealand is because at the instigation of the dateline an extra monday was added to that particular week 120 years ago, and this week had 8 days. If our church had been established back at the time of the dateline as it is now, I am sure they would have made a stand as they are doing now and would have worshipped on friday, because they wouldn't have wanted to break the 7 day cycle since creation. BUT THEY DID NOT. Instead they went with the govt change of the week (adding one day) and they began a worship outside of the 7 day cycle of creation.

          Now the Samoan mission today does not want to change with the dropping of a day (Friday 30th December 2011 my birthday by the way) and so it remains outside the 7 day cycle since creation, and is left worshipping on Sunday.

          What is really sad and confusing is that a 8 year task force study could get it so wrong, and bring this division onto the Samoan people. We as Seventh Day Adventists have an eternal message, the 3 angels message is what we are about, we are called to come out of Babylon, in the near future and right now the time is ticking towards the return of our precious Saviour, we need to become immersed in God and not amalgamated with the world and false worship.

          Are New Zealand and Australia worshipping outside the 7 day cycle since creation, OBVIOUSLY NOT, so a day added at the dateline instigation put Samoa and western Samoa 24hrs away and worshipping on the next day. The dateline was not God inspired it was put in place because American traders from California sent a delegation to request Samoa and American Samoa to be on their side of the dateline.

          God bless you Boss! May he speak to your heart!

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  39. My Dear Viliami Latu,

    When you say, "This of course leads to 2 different types of SDAs" it sounds like a breakaway from SDAs so as to start your own "type" of SDA? I had never heard of those 2 types until this issue arose. Counting days like that is misleading. It is not about who is right, but what is the right thing to do. Can it be right that a group of Adventists is now cutting itself off and calling themselves (types of SDAs) giving a strange explanation about counting the days? It is not too late to reconsider and rectify the decision made by the SM. No one is going to judge you friends because you came back, in fact we shall all be happy and rejoice together. This new way of counting days is making you more confused. When did you first count the 1st day of the week as day 1 and not Sunday? The whole world follows what you are calling the Man made days, as it is globally known to start the week on Sunday. Is this preparation for the future - for who will ever persecute you when you are already worshiping on the globally accepted first day of the week?

    And again, since 1892 experienced two days both called 4th of July, then it is clear that your counting of day 1, day 2, etc. started in 1892, not in Eden. You are giving many Bible verses that we all know but you give them in a misleading context. You know my brother, we are not here to condemn you or point fingers. We cannot understand the complexity and confusion since we are so far away. But we know that the devil is fighting to split the church. I don't believe in 2 types of SDAs. I believe the Lord will show you the way to go -- if you let Him do so. May God guide us all and help you not to be a 2nd type of SDAs. Love you all and praying for us all. [Edited 22:24 GMT to correct the date to 1892]

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  40. I'm a Samoan who had struggled with this whole issue at least a year before a decision was made. As I asked God to help me understand, the Holy Spirit placed in my mind the thought that it is by God's wisdom that he did not label the days (Sun - Sat). Instead God simply counted 1 - 7. The problem why there is so much confusion is that people have become accustomed to the Saturday label. God did not say, "Remember Saturday." He commanded us to "Remember the Sabbath...the seventh-day." The seventh-day may be labeled Sunday or Wednesday or whatever label, but it is the sabbath as long as it is the seventh-day on God's weekly cycle. Man can shift sides (timeline) and shorten weeks, but God's seventh-day cycle remains forever. Some people say we have lost the three angels message in Samoa by shifting to Sunday. I say, we now have more opportunity for people to walk into an Adventist church and to learn the three angels message. With the shift, those who worshiped on the first day are now worshiping on the seventh. Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa (western) have not become Sunday worshipers, they are continuing to worship on the seventh-day Sabbath which currently falls on Sunday.

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  41. To Diana and others who are certain that the Sabbath is determined by counting to seven during the week of Samoa's move to the other side of the date line in 2011, here are a few thoughts:

    It seems to me that you believe that the government of Samoa created the correct 7-day cycle back in 1892 when it added another Monday to the week. Could you explain to me why it was all right for a government to add a day to the week in order to move the country to the eastern side of the date line, but it is not all right to subtract a day to move the country back to the original western side of the date line?

    Why is it better to count to seven beginning in 1892 than beginning in 1891?

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  42. The western calendar now has the week starting with Monday & ending with Sunday. Following the logic presented for those in Samoa worshipping on the 7th day of the week, does that mean we in the western world should now worship on Sunday too - as Sunday is now the 7th day of the week?

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  43. Thanks Diana for sharing your experience. It’s interesting how you struggled with this issue for more than a year, but praise God you came out with a much clearer understanding and explanation for the reason of your faith.

    You are so true that God did not say, “Remember Saturday.” He commanded us to “Remember the Sabbath…the seventh-day.”, but I am a bid sad that a few of our SDA brothers and sisters are insisting on Remember the SATURDAY SABBATH … the seventh day.

    You said “The problem why there is so much confusion is that people have become accustomed to the Saturday label” and I agree.

    It is an interesting point you bring forth, “we now have more opportunity for people to walk into an Adventist church and to learn the three angels message”. I hope and pray that the Holy Spirit will give you strength and understanding to share your experience and faith where ever you meet people.

    God bless

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  44. Bretheren,
    a review of the discussion thread will reveal that there is more concern about the "name" of the day that the keeping of the "Sabbath" which falls on a 7 day cycle. Brother Latu expressed it very well. It is not wrong, just different. “ ….. and the evening and morning were the first day” Gen 1:5; “ ….. and the evening and the morning were the second day” Gen 1:8; …..

    So why the disagreement or pleading that the Samoan bretheren change a decision as though it was a rash and arbitrary decision and that we who probably have not done so know God's will better than they.
    Will a whole nation be lost because they worship on a day now called Sunday which is actually the 7th day of the week? Absolutely not.

    Think about this, did the Catholic or Protestants change their day of worship? No. And why? Because they are focused on a specific day called Sunday so wherever that day falls they will still go to church on Sunday.

    We need to first of all be assured that the bretheren did seek the Lord's guidance through a lot of prayer and study and rest assured that they are following God's impress in this matter.
    Next we need to understand that even though a Government seemed to change "time and law" that God is still in control. Whether we agree or not, whether we like it or not, God can use any situation to His benefit and glory just as He is doing following the change in the week in Tonga. There is now more debate and awareness locally and in the region about the day of worship than there was previously. Can't we see that God can and is using this opportunity to shakeup and reach many others who before this time would not have even thought about a Sabbbath? My 6 month experience in Tonga did open my eyes and helped me to appreciate the 7 day cycle AND the evangelistic benefits of the change, strange but true. Don't get me wrong, I questioned a lot as well and prayed about it and received comfort that what was done is correct.

    Let us therefore pray that in situations like these that Satan will not succeed in bringing confusion among the local SDA bretheren which to me is more a threat and a danger to the church in Samoa than whether we follow the "Saturday" or a 7 day cycle.

    We are in the last days, confusion will abound, let's pray for strength and wisdom for the leadership to continue to hold fast to principles.

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    • Hi Curt,

      Should those that wish to worship on Saturday be allowed to worship in their churches, or should they be disfellowshiped?

      Should pastors who wish to worship on Saturday lose their jobs?

      Should this be a choice, or do you think unity is more important than truth??

      Why doesn't the whole church worldwide start worshipping on Sunday? It will give our youths a bit more freedom to play all the sports they are mssing out on. We can keep our faith and be strong in God because the day we choose does not really matter! Sunday laws won't affect us and we can wait for our Saviour without the hassle of being harassed and persecuted.

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  45. Brethren,

    If we sincerely believe that God is in control in the affairs of Adventism than the IDL issues in Samoa relating to the keeping of the Seventh day Sabbath will be a non issue! God does not lead an individual or a group of people in isolation of the "body of Christ" the "Church." God is leading a "remnant" Church to glory, we can trust Him.

    The keeping of the 7th day Sabbath in the pacific in islands affected by the IDL is not new for pacific islanders. The IDL in relation to Sabbath keeping has been the serious attention of biblical scholars and Church leaders in the South Pacific Division for many many years now. So, the decision reached regarding which Sabbath should be kept in Samoa after the IDL change was not a decision reached over night.

    You may want to glean through the following papers in the South Pacific Division Webpages to understand the reasons why the Adventist Church in the pacific have chosen to remain faithful to the biblical teaching of keeping the 7th day of the week holy. See: http://adventist.org.au/samoa-dateline-change-2011.

    While God has given each of us the freedom to choose to follow Him, we however cannot just follow God the way we see fit. God has provided for us a blueprint to follow, His Word. As students of Scripture, Adventists uphold the Bible as our ultimate rule for faith and practice. Hence, when it comes to keeping the "Sabbath," it is not a matter of keeping a "day" we think best or one that suits our preference. Neither are Adventists to go along with what may appear to be convenient or simply to readjust to an IDL change! The day called "Sabbath" is not of human choosing nor is it a day we may decide upon depending on our preferences or because a government (in this case the Republic of Samoa) has taken the liberty to change the IDL. While the Republic of Samoa has the prerogative to change the IDL, this change has nothing to do with the "Sabbath of Yahweh." Only God designates "Sabbath" and according to Scripture God Himself set asside the "7th day of the week" in an "unbroken" weekly cycle and called it a day of rest unto Himself (see the creation account in Gen. 1&2).

    Friends, let me assure you that we can trust God in this matter. God is still in ultimate control of the remnant Church. He is still using the leadership at the General Conference, the South Pacific Division, and the leaders in the Samoa and Tokelau Mission. It would serve us well to respect the decisions of the Church in Samoa that has been reached through much prayer, study, and consultation.

    While some of our SDA members in Samoa may at this time feel uncomfortable with worshipping on the "7th day of the unbroken weekly cycle" in Samoa now called "Sunday," TIME MAY HEAL THIS SITUATION IF WE ALLOW IT TO HAPPEN. At this time, our members in Samoa need our support through prayers. The last thing they need right now is for us to give them the impression that it is right to insist on a position contrary to that taken by the Church through much study and prayer. I am convinced that the decision taken by the Church in the pacific is biblical and therefore the right thing to do. We are people of the "Book" (Scripture) after all. So, allow our folks in Samoa a breather and space to accept retaining what Adventists consider the "7th day Sabbath," like that kept in Samoa for over 100 years now, the "7th day of the week in an unbroken weekly cycle" as the "Sabbath" of God.

    Just remember that the "Sabbath" is an "absolute" that does not change. The "IDL" is a "variable" which, like any other changes with time. Hence, the IDL in Samoa may change in 2011 and change again, BUT THE 7TH DAY SABBATH DOES NOT CHANGE, FOR THE SAME GOD WHO CREATED THE SABBATH IS ENDUREABLE JUST AS THE SABBATH HE FIRMLY ESTABLISHED IN CREATION IS ENDUREABLE. It's amazing how the 7 day weekly cycle has endured the test of time until the present. Why should we doubt God now regarding which day of rest to keep in Samoa.

    Should Adventists then in Samoa keep "Saturday" simply because the government of Samoa has decided to shift the IDL and renamed "friday" as "Saturday"? NO. Adventists, keep the 7th day of the week in an unbroken weekly cycle as the "Sabbath" day. True, while most of the Adventist world keep "Saturday" because it coincides with the 7th day Sabbath in their part of the world, the case is not true in the pacific in island countries affected by the IDL like Samoa and Tonga. In Tonga, they keep what some misunderstand as "Sunday." There is no day called "Sunday" in the Tongan calendar. Adventists in Tonga worship on the day called "Sapate" literally translated "Sabbath." In contrast, Adventists in Samoa now worship on the day called "Sunday," nevertheless, it remains, as always kept in Western Samoa for more than 100 years (and American Samoa), the 7th day of the week.

    Rest assured friends, that the decision taken by the SPD and Samoa and Tokelau Mission is firmly rooted in what Adventists believe the teachings of Scripture. Let us continue to uphold our leaders and members in Samoa in prayer.

    LMO

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    • Brother Manu I quote you "In contrast, Adventists in Samoa now worship on the day called “Sunday,” nevertheless, it remains, as always kept in Western Samoa for more than 100 years (and American Samoa), the 7th day of the week.

      Am I now to understand the admission that this 7 day cycle is in place from the instigation of the dateline and not from creation, which is the big selling point of the task force report given to Samoans in the one sided debate presented by the task force? We could argue this point continually and it wont matter what is truth because minds have already been made up.

      I used to often wonder how E G White could be right in predicting that God's remnant would be persecuted in the end times, for the simple reason of standing for truth. I love my church and would never stand against it unless I was convicted by God that it is in error. The isolation and displays of human nature are not pleasant but are to be expected.

      The rewards are the opportunity to worship with an open and Spirit seeking group of people. No one wants to go against the majority and all who worship with us come together with a real attitude of surrender and submission to God's will.
      We have no preacher because any pastor or mission worker who stands against this error will lose his job and will not be able to feed his family. God has been faithful and every week we have had a preacher, whether it be a visiting minister from overseas or one of the elders HE has led to worship with us.

      My mum was living with us here in Samoa last year, she had to go back to New Zealand because she could not handle the fact that we feel so convicted to stand against our church. I have many people that are church family and who I love very dearly who have been convicted to make the decision opposite to us and worship with the majority. My knowledge and love of these people could never bring me to beleive that they have not been inspired by God in their decisions.

      Out of all this I see God refining HIS people on both sides of the debate. HE is causing to evaluate their own personal walk, to decide whether they put their salvation in to the hands or decisions of others, to decide if the familiar and the activities of this world are more important than HIM.

      I realise with our stand, for the mission and for the majority there is a real nuisance factor, I sence a feeling that many leaders think we are disrespecting them. How can a group with no pastor, no church even consider standing against the leaders and the task force that led them to make the decision to worship on their sabbath. This is Gods test to the leaders, and the way they handle it will build on their relationships with or will allow human nature to take over.

      May God bless in all decisions and actions, rest assured this is not just a time period where we feel uncomfortable about worshipping on sunday. We never will even if it means disfellowship.

      Lighthouse worshipped for the last Sabbath at the govt prayer house, and from now on will continue worship under a marquee in Tulaele Rd, the big rock fence behind westend motors.

      In the Sabbath school lesson today I was given a mind picture of a beckoning Saviour at the top of a ladder, a Saviour who hates and can't be near sin, but a Saviour yearns to draw closer to all of us. On each rung of the ladder are one of HIS 10 commandments radiating HIS character and showing us how to climb ever nearer to HIM. HIS law is not fulfilled and is needed until we have climbed and become totally immersed in HIM. I long for that day and I know so many others do as well.

      Lots of christian love
      Lance Cutts

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      • Hi Lance,

        I have read your response with much respect and admiration to the members in Samoa who have chosen to take a stand for what they believe is the right “Sabbath,” called “Saturday.” Until the beginning of 2012, “Saturday” was kept by SDA’s in Samoa as the 7th day of the week. Hence, Adventists in Samoa kept Sabbath together with all pacific island nations in the Western hemisphere in line with the America’s, even though the name of the Sabbath (Sapate) was called differently in Tonga. In any case, it was the same 7th day Sabbath kept in all of those pacific nations in the West.

        Today, post 2011, Adventists in Samoa still keep the uninterrupted 7th day Sabbath but the day is now called “Sunday” in the new Samoan calendar. The reason being is that the IDL changes in Samoa has resulted in a day being removed from the final week of December 2011 in order for Samoa to realign with time kept in the Eastern hemisphere together with NZ, Australia, and Asia. Hence, my previous comments regarding the “Sabbath” as an absolute in Scripture underscore the reason why Adventists in Samoa today continue to keep the 7th day of the unbroken weekly cycle now called “Sunday.” The creation account of Gen 1 and 2 affirms the 7 days weekly cycle. God cemented the “Sabbath” so to speak into a cycle of 7 literal days. Not a 5, 6, or 8 day week. In order for Samoa to adopt time of the Eastern hemisphere in 2012, the republic had to drop a day from its calendar. Obviously, the last week of December only had 6 days in it. This IDL change in Samoa should have raised the antenna for Adventists that something was not right! Anything that impinges on changing “times and laws,” specifically affecting the keeping of the 7th day of the week should have been a warning sign.

        If Adventists are serious about keeping the “Sabbath,” than it must be the day God Himself calls “Sabbath” or the day He has set aside. And, the Bible affirms it is the 7th day of the week. The biblical week is made up of 7 literal days and not 6. Hence, Adventists in Samoa had a choice whether to go along with the “Saturday” of the new calendar week in Samoa and literally keep the 6th day of the week, now renamed “Saturday” OR to remain faithful to the biblical teaching and continue to keep the 7th day as the Sabbath. The SDA Church in Samoa and Tokelau chose to continue keeping the 7th day of the week uninterrupted by the IDL change as the Sabbath, now called “Sunday” in the new calendar.

        If we were to remove the actual names to each day of the week (namely, Sunday, Monday and so forth), which day would Adventists keep as the Sabbath? Apparently, it would remain the 7th day. So, why would Adventists in Samoa do any different in 2012? Their forefathers have for a century kept the 7th day holy. Why should Adventists in Samoa today do differently? Adventists are not peculiar simply because they keep a day called “Saturday” holy but rather they are special in keeping the “7th day Sabbath” holy. Hence, irrespective of what the day is called, whether it is “Saturday” in NZ or “Sunday” in Samoa or “Sapate” in Tonga, what is of uttermost importance is that it is the 7th day of the week as the Scripture teaches.

        Hence, while I admire the courage of our brothers and sister who have decided to go along with the IDL change and keep the day named “Saturday” as the Sabbath; I remain convinced and affirm the position taken by the Samoa and Tokelau Mission to retain the keeping of the 7th day Sabbath. After all, we are “Sabbath keepers” and our name spells it out clearly, “7th day Adventists.” Not 6 or 8 day Adventists but a remnant people who keep the 7th day of the week as the Sabbath day of rest.

        Interestingly, Samoa and Tonga stand out as unique in Adventism in relation to the keeping of the 7th day Sabbath. In both island nations, all Christians worship together with 7th day Adventists on the 7th day. This is a unique blessing for the Adventist Church in both countries and is undoubtedly nothing to be upset about. There should be much rejoicing in Samoa that it has by default and courtesy of the IDL change become a “Republic of Sabbath keepers.”

        My plea to those who now keep “Saturday” in Samoa is that they earnestly seek God’s help in understanding the position taken by the Samoa and Tokelau Mission. While standing up for ones faith in Samoa by keeping “Saturday” may appear honourable, honour in isolation to the “body of Christ,” the Church is disloyalty to He who is Head of the Church, Christ Himself (cf. Eph. 5:22). As Paul underscores, we need to “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called” (Eph. 4:2-4). Christ does not work in isolation to His body the Church. The question is: Are we humble enough to trust God in this matter regarding the Sabbath in Samoa? Do we believe that God is in control of His Church, its leaders and teachings? If we are, than we have no need to question Him now!

        My sincere prayers are with our brothers and sisters in Samoa at this time. I pray that God will help them to objectively consider the position taken by the Adventist Church in Samoa and Tokelau Mission. Remember, the Samoa Mission does not work in isolation of the South Pacific Division and the World Church. The Adventist Church is a world-wide movement of 7th day keepers. It’s interesting to note that God through divine providence has set out in advance the Lessons in our quarterly (prepared years in advance) that addresses the Sabbath issues currently debated in Samoa. While the lesson does not address the IDL issues specifically, the undergirding principles of the unchanging nature of the Law (10 Commandments) and the “Sabbath” discussed in this week’s study underscores the absolute nature of the Sabbath as the 7th day of a literal week established by God in Creation. Truly, State laws, the IDL, cultures, and practice do change from time to time, and rightly so because after all, they are indeed “variables.” But the keeping of the 7th day of the week as the Sabbath does not change because it is an “absolute” deeply rooted in who god is, the creator of heaven and earth, who created the world in 7 literal days and commands all those who love him to keep each uninterrupted 7th day of the week holy.

        Blessings,

        LMO

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        • Hi Manu

          I can see exactly what you are saying and I pray while I write this.
          I know how hard it must be to accept that you have not been worshipping on the 7 day cycle since creation for the last 120 years since the date line instigation. As you have pointed out when a week is adjusted then it should not alter the Sabbath.
          The sad fact of reality is that when the dateline was instigated the creation week was adjusted and an extra day was added, as I have shown earlier when you add a day it puts the creation week cycle out.
          This whole date change has been based on misinformation, continually we keep being called Saturday Adventist or Friday Worshipers, a form of mockery that is based on error.
          The whole task force presentation of why the church should keep sunday is based on not altering the creation week 7 day cycle and that we Saturday Adventist (as the new catch phrase goes) have subtracted a day out of the week so we can keep worshipping on Saturday.
          To expalin this lets go back to the 7 day creation week before 1892, now we see New Zealand and Samoa worshipping on the same day, all of a sudden the powers that be (For reasons that we all know) decide that a dateline was needed, all of a sudden for commercial reasons the 7 day creation week is altered and an extra Monday is added to the week. The church in its infancy at that time goes along with the date change( if they had invented a calender for SDAs as they have done now and had refused to add the Monday) and find themselves worshipping on Friday. Calling it the Sabbath because they didnt want to alter the creation week.
          BUT THEY DID NOT!!!
          When the dateline was instigated they became Saturday Adventists and they worshipped on Saturday.
          Now we get to 30 december 2011, a task force comes to Samoa full of scholars that the Samoan people trust and admire. This task force tells the Samoan people that they need to follow the 7 day creation week cycle even if this means worshipping on Sunday. This is a complex issue and hard to understand, when the question is asked about the dateline change, the only answer this task force gives is "The dateline must have been God inspired because God is a God of order."
          Nothing is said about the creation week having already been altered, the mission adopts there papers full of error, other reports that show an opposing position are shelved. Pastors are not happy and they write letters to the SPD but are told in order to keep there jobs they have to be unified on this decision. Letters are sent out to churches for pastors and elders to read out in church, these letters are extremely strong worded warning people not to oppose this decision.
          This whole situation is wrong, but God is in control, HIS return is very close and HE is refining HIS people, this will continue to affect so many Samoans in so many different ways. Some will embrace their precious Saviour more closely, others will feel released from their church habit and go and join the world in activities that have been denied because of the Sabbath, others will feel aggreived and make plans in human nature.
          The Samoan people have an imbedded love for God in their culture, you could visit just about every house on this island and be able to talk about Jesus, where in new Zealand and Australia society has become very secular. God has many wonderful people in Samoa and satan is seeking to diminish their light, but also God is working to ignite HIS faithful.
          Gods faithful are on both sides of this debate!

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  46. In considering this issue, there are two points that we need to be very clear about.

    1. Nobody knows where the garden of eden was. The earth was so radically altered from the flood that there is absolutely no trace of it. We have no knowledge of how far the ark drifted during the flood, nor do we know it's starting point or even where abouts it's starting point was in relation to the garden of eden. Therefore, we have absolutely no reference whatsoever to determine a zero point for a universal time reference from a religious perspective.

    2. In consideration of point 1 then, any starting reference point that we have is purely man made and arbitrary. It is a common consensus from all the nations that Grenwich is the starting point from which the meridians of longditude start. They end 180 degrees from that point which is the opposite side of the world.

    For those of us who live somewhere between these points, there will never really be an issue. If it becomes an issue, then maybe everybody should go to Sinai and worship on Sabbath.

    When dealing with worship at the two extremes, meridian 0 and 180, we need to remember that it is a man made tradition that marks these lines. Therefore it should be a conscience decision as to what day is the real Sabbath. More than likely though, if the zero reference point was moved by a consensus of all the worlds governments then let that determine what day the Seventh day of the week is for us all. If some single government decided that they wanted their country to be on one side of the line when they are not, then this should not determine what the Seventh day of the week is.

    At the end of the day, as the reference points are man made and arbitrary, we cannot be judgemental in regard to outcomes.

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  47. It must be mentioned that Alaska used to be on Asian dating (during Russian administration), and the Philippines used to be on American dating (before Mexican independence which cut off Spaniards traveling through America). French Polynesia was on Asian dating. In a modern world this would be chaotic. So when transpacific travel/trade became developed in the 19th century, there needed to be a common longitude for changing dates. Many nations came together to recognize the 180th, just like the Council of Jerusalem, a gathering of everyone involved. The IDL is not an international agreement, but the reckoning of longitude is. We as a body of worldwide believers should be in harmony amongst ourselves regarding where to draw the line, not blindly submitting loyalty to any one nation's government. Date change decisions are simply the act of politicians, not a referendum or international conference.

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  48. Talofa Lance & All,

    I commend you & the believers who have made a stand for God in Samoa
    Most folks only talk but dont walk the talk.

    If God is with you who can be against you.

    At the end of the day its between you & God, none else.

    Just reading through some of the posts, no wonder people are lost with all these theories that are not biblical .

    I also read the SPD & SM's official releases & their reasons are very weak. Im thankful that people like yourselves have made a stand.
    Rest assured it will only be a matter of time before more folks both from the SDA's & other christians will join you.

    Samoa's case is not the same as Tonga & other Pacific countries
    & as Samoans we not only talk but we are doing something about it.

    Join the Sabbath Keepers Network.

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  49. When a person as an individual or with their family is traveling and crosses the date line, they don't worry that they have 6 or 8 days in their week, they worship on the Sabbath as it is where ever they are at. Why not think likewise of this situation as if the whole nation of Samoa has "traveled" or "moved" (in an odd sense it sort of has, hasn't it?) and treat it likewise?

    Makes sense to me...

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  50. Lately, a couple of folks here have talked about the 180th meridian as an international convention, as derived from the prime meridian running through Greenwich. These have suggested that there is an international consensus that should carry more weight with us than the decisions of individual governments. My research does not show any real international consensus, except for having a standard way of measuring time.

    It is true that, for the sake of comparison, time is generally kept in relation to GMT. However, we have all kinds of time zones in this world, and they don't usually follow the meridians that one sees on a globe, every 15 degrees around the world. An extreme example would be China, which is all in one time zone. Malaysia is too, although Borneo is far to the east of the Malay peninsula. Even North American time zones are marked out with strange lines, according to local choices and custom.

    We see the same thing with the so-called International Dateline. I say "so-called" because this is generally regarded as having been a misnomer from the start. There was one international convention in regard to a date line, in 1884. At that time, no exact line was marked out for dividing one day from another. Individual governments were explicitly allowed the right to affect (and to collectively determine) where the date line would actually end up. So it would seem that, while the 180th meridian may have seemed ideal as a date line, to many minds, it never actually became an international convention. The best I can determine, the date line has always passed to the east of Tonga, for instance, putting Tonga on the same day as New Zealand.

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