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The Samoan Sabbath Dilemma — 422 Comments

  1. My name is Jenkins Tesese an Adventist in Auck NZ my parents were along with the other members of the SDA in Samoa were pioneers of the church.My Dad was a non SDA & a graduate of the LMS Theological College but became an adventist becos of the SDA Sabbath.My parents served the church as Pastors & Evangelist in Samoa both American & Western Samoan,NZ & Australia for 50+ years. The confusion came about when the country decided to align with NZ,OZ & China.
    Nothing to do with the freedom of worship.

    These are facts to consider:
    History: Samoa was on this side of idl prior to 1892 and only changed to the American time zone on the 4th July 1892 when Samoa had two 4th of July to align with the USA timezone. The SDA arrived the same year and worshiped on the new Saturday. Now in 2011 the Govt of Samoa have new Business partners(Nz & Oz) changed the side of the road to drive on, from the US left side to the righthand side & in Dec align with NZ (miss the 30th of Dec)to be inline with NZ time zone.

    Samoan Ministers from NZ & Australia & the US Dr Erika Puni from General Conference advised against the decision to stay with the unbroken cycle theory which will result in the church worshipping on Sunday in Jan 2012. The problem with maintaining the unbroken cycle in 2011 is that the cycle was already broken in 1892 when Samoa had two 4th of July.

    Keep it simple -is my message to the Australian conference & Union who advised the Samoa Mission which will set the church back

    • @Jenkins Tesese: I agree, keep it simple. When local government sets the date, simply set our Seventh day Sabbath based on that schedule.

      • I live in the U.S. and when I converted to SDA from Catholicism... one of the big threats to our freedom to worship on the 7th day Sabbath was the implementation of the Sunday blue laws. But it now seems to me that those laws are no big deal. Just adopt the international date line change and then many will no longer keep the 7th day but will adopt another day. I'm thinking that this idea of the issue being simple and following the government is a lot deeper than many of us think. Remember to keep the 7th day... (whether it's called Sunday or not, I don't think that is the issue)

        • Menotu, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. For the sake of the other participants, I'd like to ask you to clarify your views just a little further. You seem to be suggesting (in harmony with the official statement of the Samoa Mission) that what is now called Sunday, in independent Samoa, is actually the seventh day of the week. The idea seems to go something like this:

          "If it was the seventh day before, it's the seventh day now. It doesn't matter whether the government (and the general public) call it 'Saturday' or 'Sunday!'"

          Setting aside, for the moment, the very serious problems that this position creates for our public testimony in regard to the true Sabbath, I'd like to try to grapple with the concepts.

          In a particular country, what is it that actually determines which is the seventh day of the week, and which is the first? In view of the necessity of the International Date Line, and of its inherently arbitrary nature, I believe it is in the power of local government to make this decision, within reasonable limits.

          So, please clarify, what is your rationale for differing with the government on this -- for saying that what the government terms Sunday, the first day of the week, is really ultimately the seventh day? If it is because Samoa is in the "western hemisphere," I believe that has already been answered. So, please tell us, what compelling reason do you have in mind?

          God bless.

        • RG: “If it was the seventh day before, it’s the seventh day now. It doesn’t matter whether the government (and the general public) call it ‘Saturday’ or ‘Sunday!’”

          Yes... I am following the “idea” as you stated above.

          Regarding the concepts that are to be grappled with... I think that the seventh day of the week can be derived from using Israel area as ground.

          Here's a simple question/thought that maybe the audience of this forum could answer. If the IDL were to move west of Israel, would the sabbath keeping Jewish population (and other) observe the new government Saturday or would they observe the cycle of 7-days that they have been keeping since time.

          I don't know the ultimate answer to the above question – but to the many folks that I've asked and to my reasoning - my non-scientific survey results were in majority to: The Sabbath keepers would go with the known 7 day cycle rather than a adopt a new 7 day cycle.

          Hope I answered your question.

        • Dear Menotu,

          Thank you for answering my question. If I understand you correctly, you believe the Sabbath should be observed according to whether one is nearer Israel, to the west or to the east. While I can appreciate this, I must point out that this idea, in my view, has some serious problems. For one thing, Palestine was not the cradle of civilization; it was not where the Sabbath was created and blessed. Secondly, the practical application of your idea, while conveniently running the "Sabbath-keeping Dateline" down the middle of the Pacific, would still result in dividing certain islands. And, lastly, any reckoning of days that differs from that of the general public will inevitably tend toward confusion, of which God is not the author. Let's not go there, unless it is absolutely necessary.

          You asked what would happen if the dateline were moved to the other side of Israel. Since Israel is nowhere near the dateline, but is clearly on the same side of the world as the cradle of civilization, I personally find this question rather meaningless.

          Brother, please do read the comment that I posted a few minutes ago. I believe that, if we are asking the wrong question, we can only come up with the wrong answer.

          God bless!

      • Its not about simple I think its prophecy.Samoa is a testing ground for it. Why is this Samoan Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church not following suit do they know something we dont?

    • so... does that mean back in 1892 ... everyone was observing the sabbath on a friday? so now... 2011-2012 Independent Samoa reverts back to how it was prior to the July 4th, 1892 alignment with the USA time zone... the sabbath has gone back to the actual sabbath day... is my assumption correct with what you're saying?

    • Dear Jenkins Tesese,
      Your comment is very interesting. But I cannot understand what kind of change was the repetition of 4th July. Was repeated the date only, or the number (and the name) of the week day ? Did the Samoan SDA keep the wrong day so long time, without any word from GC and Division?

      • The repetition of the 4th of July in 1892 made a week of eight days -- just as if the whole country moved across the date line the same way we fly over the date line in air planes and float over it in ships.

        From then on, Samoa was on the American side of the date line and reckoned its days the American way.

        SDA's did not keep the "wrong day" because Saturday was the seventh day of the week on that side of the date line (the American side).

        When we cross the date line we do not take our previous week with us. We reckon time according to the way it is reckoned in the country we find ourselves. And that is the very simple and practical way to approach the subject when a country moves across the date line. In other words, now that Samoa has moved back to the Asian side of the date line, it would be proper to keep the Sabbath according to Asian reckoning After all, even Adventists accept the new reckoning on every other day of the week.

        The Sabbath on both sides of the date line can be traced back to the time of Christ -- as long as you don't cross the date line in your counting of the days.

  2. This is a very tricky situation. Imagine telling me that my country has changed the days and the one I have been calling Sabbath of my Father (my God) is renamed either Friday or Sunday) or my God, I can remain praying on the day which I have been praying my God and because only sees the intention He will consider me as observing the true Sabbath.

  3. I, immediately, saw an issue when I read of the intentions of Independent Samoa. I do not purport to have a wrong or right answer to this dilemna; and deeply sympathize with those who have become conflicted over the matter. God understands/knows this conflict. Nothing catches Him by surprise. The Sabbath issue is a matter of obedience and loyalty. If I understand the issue(s) correctly and were to have to decide, I suppose I would celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday, initially, closing out the work week that has already started, and from that point, jump on the Eastern work week, which should result in me, again, being on a weekly work cycle that would be in line with everyone else, and ending with a 7th day Saturday Sabbath. I really believe how this is handled within the church and how we deal with it is of extreme importance in that if our (the SDA church's) resolve to worship our Lord and Creator as He directs, can be seen to be "confused" simply by flipping or changing days, it may become a tactical tool against the church. Finally, the one issue I see with the course the Samoan Mission has taken is since we know last day persecution will center around Sunday vs. Saturday(Sabbath) worship, how will the the "worship" (Sunday worship) they have chosen subject them to persecution?... Praying for the church as a whole!!!

    • @ Rosemarie:
      I appreciate your thoughtful reply. I just want to comment on your closing statement regarding persecuting centering around Sunday vs. Sabbath observance.

      Rather than just focusing on persecution, we should probably also think in terms of what our actions say to the rest of the world regarding our loyalty. The seventh-day Sabbath is a sign of loyalty to our Creator God. The Roman Catholic church claims that its authority is demonstrated by the fact that almost the whole world keeps Sunday for Sabbath, thus acknowledging its authority.

      Any statement that the Samoan Mission puts out will soon be forgotten. And those churches who choose to worship on Sunday, according to the dateline, will not have a testimony to give to other Sunday-keeping churches. That's the way I see it. 🙂

      • Dear Inge

        Rosemari was not focusing on persecution. She made only one statement regarding that and it was done at the end of her comment. She has made a very valid point and instead of picking at this comment let's pray earnestly for our brothers and sisters in Samoa and for all of us internationally. Who knows what test we will have in the future? Who knew that this would have happened? May God give us the strength to serve him sincerely.

        • Joy,
          I truly appreciate your comment on the issue. As much as we would like to have all the answers to the questions and dilemmas that may arise at any given time and place, we are again left at the mercy of our faith in God. I truly believe, as a member of the Leone SDA Church in American Samoa, that the Lord will intervene in His time. I believe our brothers and sisters in Independent Samoa are truthful in their position and decision continuing the former cycle.

          You say "who knew that this would have happened?" is exactly correct. Just two years ago up to now, discussions about passing of the Sunday Law in Samoa was a concern and it was a serious issue to the SDA church members. But who would have known that instead of the Sunday Law being passed, the so call concern came in a form of simply changing of time (a simple movement of the IDL) and everyone would be worshiping on Sunday instead of Sabbath. How clever can the great deceiver be? Now almost everyone is worshiping on Sunday except for a few Sabbath worshipers. Is the question really about the time change or is it about worshiping on the same day.....Sunday. No need to be too concern about the Sunday law now because everyone is now worshiping on Sunday, at least for our brothers and sisters in I/Samoa. I do pray for not only our brothers and sisters in Independent Samoa but for all of God's children who truly love Him and keep His commandments.

          God bless.

  4. Am I missing something here? If in 1892 an extra day was added, does that not mean the day they were worshiping as Saturday Sabbath was effectively Sunday? And by now in 2011 removing that added day, have they now not reveted to the original Saturday Sabbath. It sounds to me that in His wisdom has moved the powers to give back to His people the "rightful" day of worship. I might have completely misunderstood the whole technical matter, if that is the case, please forgive me.
    On another note, i agree with worshiping on one the new government knows as the Sabbath, as that is the one which will be the "sign of loyalty to the Creator". Mind you, the Sabbath principle is universal, but the geographical Sabbath time is local. Our sunrise and sunset, and time from Friday to Sunday are all locally determined.

    • Thank you, Christopher, for your valuable contribution to this discussion. As far as I'm concerned, your logic is excellent and your point is an important one. Here is what I believe you may have missed.
      One of the major points of my article, which I may not have explained clearly enough, is that, especially when one is roughly halfway around the world from the cradle of civilization, there are two ways of looking at what day of the week it is at any given time. One way is to think of your geographical location as being toward the east end of the world. The other is consider it to be toward the far west end of the world. As I see it, neither way is right or wrong. Either one is just fine. Therefore, I conclude that we ought to allow local government to exercise its legitimate authority in deciding which way the people under its jurisdiction shall view the matter -- and even to make changes as it sees fit. From this rather practical point of view, sunset Friday to sunset Saturday is the correct period for Sabbath observance, regardless of time, place or circumstances. Does this help?

      God bless!

      • This is an interesting discussion. I was always under the impression, which may now seem illogical, that the Sabbath has been kept by some group unbroken since Adam and Eve. Thus, the original Sabbath day, whichever day it is, has been kept. As people migrated from the cradle of civilization, the "hour" the Sabbath began and ended may have changed, but it was still the same day. However, this discussion is starting to make me realize this was not the case. So, I had a dilemma until reading Christopher's remark. I suppose he is right that whatever day is the seventh that our faithfulness will be determined on this. But, why sunset to sunset instead of midnight to midnight?

      • This is a very interesting situation that has presented itself once again in our lifetime. I feel for the people of Samoa and this predicament.

        Part of me thinks that you should follow what the local government follows when it comes to the days of the week. However, many calenders show Monday being the first day of the week and Sunday being the last day.

        Noting that, what if a local government (meaning a country) decides to designate Monday officially as the first day of the week and Sunday as the seventh? Should we then just begin worshipping on Sunday because the names of the days have been changed?

        I believe that right now, we can follow our local government because at the very least, our weeks still are Sun-Mon. But if "they" decide to change it on us, we'll be in a bit of a predicament by your analysis don't you think R.G.?

        • Yes, Rod, I do fully agree with you. In the case of Samoa, the government's clear intent was to shift the International Dateline, not to change the weekly cycle. It seems that Samoa has merely moved over to New Zealand's perfectly legitimate week. If governments do choose to mess with the weekly cycle, as has been attempted in France and Russia, or perhaps even in a more subtle way as you have suggested, then I believe we shall be dealing with an entirely different situation.

  5. After reading the article, my understanding is that by keeping the adjusted Saturday as Sabbath from this month onwards, i.e. January 2012, Independent Samoan would have gone back to what Sabbath would have been prior to the 1892 change. Having said this, I agree that this can be a very delicate matter. Therefore, it is paramount that we pray for God's wisdom to abound so that our brothers and sisters in this part of the world will be enlightened amidst the confusion.

    • The SDA church arrived in Samoa after the change of date in 1892 .

      Heres some background information
      Eastern Samoa is part of the US & uses the US Calender.
      Western Samoa (now the independent ) & is called "Samoa"
      Both Samoas were in the NZ timezone & using the NZ calender before the 1892 change.
      In 2011 only Samoa (Independent)decided for trade purpose to align with NZ which means Saturday in Samoa will be a day earlier than American Samoa.

      *Some points to ponder
      The name SDA means two things
      Seventh Day Sabbath & Second Coming-this is our identity, for years Missionaries including our parents have proclaim the Sabbath message. My dad when he accepted (like many others) were disowned by their families becos of the Sabbath message. By worshipping on Sunday now, together with other christians, the church has lost its identity & point of difference, uniqueness .
      *The Prime Minister of Samoa has sisters who are adventist & publicly defended the church when the opposition moved to enforce the Sunday as a day of worship but the PM reminded Samoans about the Constitution (Freedom of worship)& that Adventist also worship on Saturday and then 2 months later what does the church do - oppose the government decision. That was a sad witness by the church - not supporting the very person that stood for the church.
      Now the buzz word is its good that the Adventist are now joining us in worshipping on Sunday. Not only has the church been noted in the media & Govt as the only organisation to oppose the change but it lost its chance to stand up & be counted.

      The good news is Our Family based in Samatau along with others from other SDa churches stood firm & will continue to worship on the Seventh-day Sabbath .
      * Samoa used to import a lot of vehicles from the USA & also drive on the right-hand side. In 2011 they stopped importing cars from the US but instead import cars from NZ & OZ & also change the side of the road to drive on (Left) very similar to the SDA Case. The Government changed days from US timezone & Calender to the NZ Timezone & Calender but the SDA says no we will stay with the US time zone & Calender.

      (What happens if the church continues to drive on the right handside when everyone in Samoa drives on the left ...

      • I wonder if the left/right driving matter might be a little confusing to those who are not familiar with it. My wife and I recently spent a year living in Malaysia. Until now, I am the driver for our family, so I did quite a bit of driving during that time. In Malaysia, as in many countries, the rules require one to remain in the left lane of a two-lane highway, except for overtaking other vehicles. (This, of course, is the opposite of many other countries, such as the U.S.A. and Canada.) Generally, vehicles are manufactured in such a way as to seat the driver toward the middle of the road. Thus, while we were in Malaysia, I sat in the right front seat for driving, while my wife was seated on the left.

        In 2011, independent Samoa, in addition to moving ahead one full day in time, switched the rules of the road to require driving in the left lane. Thus, they will now prefer right-hand drive vehicles. I had to chuckle when Jenkins suggested, to our imagination, all of the Adventists stubbornly continuing to drive in the right lane.

        May God bless you all.

      • I am from the caribbean where they drive on the left hand side of the road and having come to the US, I now have to adjust my practices and drive on the right hand side of the road. Having said that let me ask this should one member of these churches that are in opposition to the Samoan government's decision travel to another country of a different time zone would they just fall in line and worship with the other sabbath keepers there or would they try to find a church to coincide with there day of worship back home.....!

        We do not know how many times before we were born that these adjustments were made so where are we now, which day is it that we are really worshipping on, what is important is that we be in obedience to God's commands. God does not sleep and He pays attention to everything that goes on. We have been instructed to obey the laws of the land so long as they are in keeping with God's words.

        Be Blessed and hold fast to that which is good.

  6. RG
    How about a scenario close to home? The US government decided Jan. 1, 2013 to move up the calendar one day. They already move daylight saving time around at will. Sabbath would be on Sunday and Sunday on Monday. I thought about it a little and decided that would be okay. The Sunday worshipers would still be worshiping on Sunday and we would still be worshiping on the Seventh day Sabbath. I can live with that, but when I am told that I can no longer worship on the Seventh day Sabbath, I can only worship on Sunday, then I have a problem. I have to sit down with my Bible, Spirit of Prophecy, and Holy Spirit, in sincere prayer, and make a decision where to draw the line, yes I am sure it would be good to do that this quarter rather than to wait until the last hour. Do I draw the line refusing to go to services on Sunday? Do I go to services on Sunday but have a secret service on the Seventh Day Sabbath?

  7. This is not the 1st time this has happened due to the date line being moved....
    ...And in any event Saturday is not the same Sabbath observed by ancient Israel.
    ...So say the Jews who obsess over such things.

    • After completing His work of creation, God blessed and sanctified the seventh day of the week and, as Seventh-day Adventists see it, no other. (See Genesis 2:1-3) The 4th Commandment, as recorded in Exodus 20:8-11, refers back to this event in commanding us to keep the seventh day holy to Jehovah.

      How can we know that the weekly cycle has been uninterrupted since creation? Well, for me, Jesus' own practice during His earthly ministry is testimony enough, up to that time. The Biblical Research Institute, on its website, has posted letters from the U.S. Naval Observatory and from the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. (http://biblicalresearch.gc.adventist.org/documents/weeklycycle.pdf ). Beyond pointing out that the weekly cycle has nothing to do with astronomical observations or any particular calendar, these letters affirm that there is no reason to believe that the weekly cycle has ever been altered, at least since well before the time of Christ's earthly ministry -- except for a couple of abortive local attempts in France and Russia.

      If you have any information to the contrary, Fred, I'd appreciate knowing the source of this information.

  8. Hello all,
    I have followed this interesting conversation. Who would have thought loyalty to God could get well-meaning people so confused! I do pray that the brethren in Samoa sort out their local problem in a way that will glorify God in all the earth.

    I did observe one thing though. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems that the change in calendar hasn't entirely thrown them off the weekly cycle. It seems to me that they will share the new 'calendar' Saturday on the same day as people in Nz (& China?) and if they choose to continue observing the 'calendar' Saturday as the Sabbath, they would simply be joining their brethren in these countries.

    When I consider it from this perspective, the problem doesn't seem so bizarre to me. But I do understand why it could be difficult to accept. I believe the Church in Samoa, if there is any confusion among them, should reach out to their brethren in those countries in other to relieve their conscience. Otherwise, they could find themselves stuck in following the letter rather than the spirit (2 Cor 3).

    • Very well said, Iheanyi
      Another question to consider is this: On the other days of the week, how do the Adventists in Samoa reconcile the days of the week with their colleagues and neighbors? Are they adhering to a shifted week every day or just on Sabbath?
      If they go to work with non-Adventists, and follow the same weekly pattern of Monday to Friday for work purposes, but then they go to church on what everyone else (including, technically, themselves) are viewing as now Sunday, then it seems to me that they are undermining their witness. Christianity is not just event-driven (e.g. a worship day situation), but a daily living experience, and as such, it requires consistency.
      Given the nature of the planet, the Sabbath takes place at different times for different people, and we've never had a problem with that before.

  9. Thanks Br. White for this article. It is a sensitive issue and a big dilemma that calls for lots of prayers and guidance from above. I see this change as taking Samoan SDAs back to the original Sabbath observed before the changes were made in 1892.

    It thus seems right to be in line with the government changes since all days are shifting back to their original placement such that the former Sunday is no-longer Sunday but now Monday (If I understood the article right) and former Saturday is now Sunday while former Friday is now Saturday (the Sabbath observed before the changes were made in 1892).

    When the SDA Sunday keepers from Samoa travel to NZ they worship on the same Sabbath that they are finding not right to observe in their home country. This creates more confusion and God's work is at stake. For how shall we reach out and what shall we tell the people is the true Sabbath when we ourselves are divided and worshiping on two different days in a week? The outsides are now calling SDAs Sunday keepers but it will also lead to arguments and conflicts within the church about which day of the week is the right day, especially when it comes to reaching out, having a crusade, will the Sabbath day then depend on who the speaker is and not which day it actually is? The administration might then only invite preachers who share their views.

    Divisions amongst SDA churches is now the subject in the local newspapers and of course the talk of the people. http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2011/December/12-30-12.htm; Mark 3:25 warns us that a house divided against itself cannot stand. It is not too late for my brothers in Samoa to rectify this. It is not about who will win but about prayerfully establishing unity and uniformity for the church on a national level. Let us all take up the 10 days of prayer starting with today's theme: Earnest intercession - and pray for this issue and that the brothers may come up with a spirit guided solution. May God guide those in power and prepare us all for related issues ahead.

  10. Greetings

    A very serious issue indeed. I do not mean to spiritualise the issue or nitpick at details. The first day of the week was called Sunday, and the seventh Saturday. If a government decides to skip Friday the 30th, then Saturday the 31st falls on the 6th day of the week. The names given to the days of the week form a cycle from Sunday through Saturday. God's days and calender forms a cycle from the first day through the seventh. They happen to overlap because of historic religio-political reasons (we all know who orchestrated it). However, we were commanded to keep the seventh day, not Saturday. The seventh day, not Saturday, is the Sabbath. Now, if Sunday-keepers (by this logic) keep what is traditionally called Sunday (which now falls on the seventh day), then you would, logically find Sabbatarians and Sunday-keepers going to church on the same day.

    Let's keep in mind that a change like this occurred before. And that the Sunday-Saturday system runs alongside the first day-Sabbath system. Remember, when the Israelites left Egypt, they were given an independent calendar. All over the world we have different calendars (solar, lunar, luni-solar etc.) that overlap different days on different days. The January 1 New Year is different to the Chinese New Year which is different to the Jewish New Year.

    My point, do the Chinese change their New Year when the West changes dates? Would the Jews celebrate Hanukkah a day earlier if the West changed their calendar by a day? Why then do we, who were given an independent seven-day cycle, change our cycle because a government decided to change its timetable?

    But we must reference the first change of days in Samoa and see how the sabbatarians reacted to that change.

    I would like to say that this issue is complicated by our attitude to Sunday-observance (which is justified.) But let us, for a minute, just look at the seven-day cycle we have been given, irrespective of the Julian/Gregorian caledar the West uses today, and stay true to the command to keep holy the seventh day of His week.

    This situation might be a ploy by Satan to confuse his scheme with the plan of God. I, therefore, do not believe it is wrong to worship on Sabbath (which coincidentally falls on Sunday now), simply because, by worshipping on Saturday (now on the sixth day of the week) it would seem to me that we are accomodating the command of God to suit our circumstance.

    This is a very very complicated situation, and i do not live in Samoa, so it is very easy for me to say what i am saying. But consider this:
    If you were preparing for Sabbath this Friday, and by some chance the government declared the next day to be another Friday, and Saturday to be the day after that, would you stop preparing and prepare tomorrow?
    That is the way i see the situation. When the Sunday Law is enforced, this will get very confusing for many. However, if you read the commandment, it requires us to keep the seventh day of every week, not the Saturday of every week, holy.

    I hope i have not offended anyone, nor seemed as though i have not considered prophecy, Scripture, and politics in the Great Controversy. But if we were to silence every voice but that of God, He books a particular day every week, regardless of what the world may call it, because in it He rested, and blessed it, sanctified it, and called it holy. That day is not governed by governments, determined by churches and church-goers. Otherwise, Sunday is more a concept rather than an actual day, in which case, no matter where any government may move Sunday, we would then be obliged to keep the preceeding day so that we are not seen, by men, to be going to church on Sunday. Therefore, the day considered Sabbath is dictated by the whims of men, and not God.

    God.bless, and may the Lord guide all understanding.

    • Dear Toka,

      Thank you for your input in this discussion. It is true that the official statement from the Samoa Mission asserts that, in 2012 independent Samoa, Saturday is now the sixth day of the week, while Sunday is the seventh. From what I perceive as a rather narrow perspective, this may seem to be the case. However, there are several other comments here which I feel raise some serious objections to this theory.

      Jenkins, Christopher, Evangeline, and Rose have all noted that the 2011 date line change in independent Samoa is but a reversal of an earlier change that was made in 1892. So, even from a local perspective, the new Saturday in independent Samoa is exactly the same as the pre-1892 Samoan Saturday.

      Perhaps one could suggest that even the pre-1892 Saturday was actually the sixth day of the week because Samoa is in the “western hemisphere.” I would respond to that by pointing out that the eastern and western hemispheres, as conventionally understood, are based on the Prime Meridian which runs through Greenwich, England. As I see it, the Garden of Eden was almost certainly not in present-day England, but was very likely far to the east in Mesopotamia. Thus I cannot see how the Prime Meridian could be of any relevance here.

      I hope that you will continue to follow this discussion, and I pray the Lord will lead all sincere Sabbath keepers to a correct understanding of this matter. May God bless you.

  11. Several people have posted comments here, suggesting that (in view of the fact that the 2011 change is but a reversal of the change in 1892) the new Saturday in independent Samoa represents the restoration of their true Sabbath.

    I can certainly see this as an interesting point of view, which raises serious questions about the action taken by the leadership of the Samoa Mission. However, I believe that this position has problems of its own which need to be considered. If the Sabbath keepers of independent Samoa are having their true Sabbath restored to them, would this not mean that those of American Samoa are not? Could we seriously suggest that the Sabbath keepers of American Samoa should begin ceasing from work and holding services on Friday?

    I believe that we Seventh-day Adventists generally see it as vitally important to our Sabbath keeping that the weekly cycle has continued uninterrupted since at least the days of Christ’s earthly ministry. We need to know that, around the world, we are keeping the same Seventh-day Sabbath as Jesus observed. On the other hand, it has been pointed out by some that we break this continual cycle, on an individual level, whenever one of us crosses the date line. If a resident of Canada, for instance, spends two weeks in Korea, we do not say that this person needs to observe Sunday as his or her Sabbath while there. We do not seem to think that keeping the weekly cycle uninterrupted, on the individual level, is all that important, as long as the church as a whole has it right.

    I believe that the same principle applies on a country-wide level. If the government of a certain country decides to move the date line from one side of the country to the other, I see this as if every individual in that country had just crossed the date line. I do not believe it matters, as long as the world church, as a whole, has the right Sabbath. I feel, as do others who have posted comments here, that our witness for God's own Seventh-day Sabbath is more important than the technicalities. Therefore, I wholeheartedly agree with Iheanyi, who has suggested that our Samoan brothers and sisters communicate with fellow believers in New Zealand and elsewhere in the East, in order to better educate their conscience.

  12. Thank you for the concern for the brothers and sisters in Samoa dealing with the issue. And thank you Mr White for the article and for addressing a crucial point:
    "Jenkins, Christopher, Evangeline, and Rose have all noted that the 2011 date line change in independent Samoa is but a reversal of an earlier change that was made in 1892. So, even from a local perspective, the new Saturday in independent Samoa is exactly the same as the pre-1892 Samoan Saturday."

    That was a point i felt was communicated well enough by the time i joined the discussion, so i didn't want to make a redundant contribution. Essentially, Samoa have always been on the 'right' Sabbath because of where they are considered to be relative to the dateline. When they are in the Far West the day would coincide with the Sabbath of the Americas; when in the Far East it would coincide with Australasia. In White's last point is another very important point: when a person travels across the world/dateline, from West to East, they then re-set their watch to conform to the time-keeping of the area.

    This, I believe, should be the basis for the change. I was simply disturbed by what i perceived from the article and EL's contribution about following the authorities on this issue. 1 Cor. 9:19-23. Eph. 6:1. There is an interesting principle in these verses, that is, i obey/conform only until it interferes with my obeying the Lord. That was all i was really trying to get across. That no particular calendar, government, or societal norm should dictate our worship on the seventh day, whether the locals call it Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, because our worship on that day is a command from the Lord.

    I would not worship on a different day, except i travel (like from West to East). I do not believe the decisions of governments should play any part on our day of worship. Otherwise, i fear that when they make a decision that actually does conflict with Scripture, we will be found in a culture of saying "Yes sir". I like to refer to Daniel and Darius (Daniel 6) where the jealous officials created a law to find fault with Daniel. I am not sure, but i assume that, as in the case of the three Hebrew boys, he seems to be one of the only Israelites who stayed loyal to God while the rest conformed to the new law.

    I simply want to avoid that mindset that we agree with the government. We submit to authority as a way to honour Christ, so on the issue of the Sabbath, i want to agree with John in that, when we consult for this matter, we do so in this order:
    1. Holy Spirit (prayer)
    2. Scripture
    3. SOP
    4. Knowledge in Geographic principles
    and then 5. What the govt. says..

    Again (my disclaimer haha) these are the principles i believe we will need to stand during the closing scenes of the Controversy. I also don't like redundancy, so if i haven't openly argued a point that is raised, chances are i agree with it.


    • Dear Toka,

      Thank you for candidly sharing your thoughts with us. I feel that your comments deserve a reply.

      You said:
      "Essentially, Samoa have always been on the ‘right’ Sabbath because of where they are considered to be relative to the dateline. When they are in the Far West the day would coincide with the Sabbath of the Americas; when in the Far East it would coincide with Australasia."

      If I understand you correctly, you are agreeing that the Sabbath keepers of independent Samoa really ought to continue observing Saturday as the Sabbath, now coinciding with Australasia. But, in the rest of your comment, you seem to be saying that you would not wish to do so in practice, for fear of giving the government too much influence over your Sabbath keeping. You seem to feel that this might set one up for receiving the Mark of the Beast.

      I heard my father say it first. We've been taught since we were knee-high to a grasshopper (these were not his exact words) that we must be prepared to resist the government in the last days. Now we have to go along with the government!

      First, I suggest we recognise that any effect of the Samoan government's decision on our Sabbath keeping is incidental. That is, the government did not make this change in order to affect anyone's Sabbath observance. Secondly, there is currently no law in Samoa regarding a day of rest or of worship.

      Perhaps this problem points out a serious deficiency in our past teaching. What will make the difference between success and failure in earth's final test? Is it our willingness to "buck" the government? No, I believe that it is our deep love for God, our loyalty to Him, our deep concern for the salvation of others, our total dependance on God, and our thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. Am I missing something here? Should these factors not be a powerful motivation for present-day Samoans to continue observing the Sabbath on Saturday?

      • Ahhh brother, i think you have hit the nail on the head! I agree the change should be implemented, however, not simply because the government changed its schedule. I feel that to be a weak and unjustified reason for it. The government made a decision that effectually had geographical consequences for Independent Samoa that affect the Sabbath worship. However, worshipping on another day because the government changes its calendar, or because other christian groups change their day has never been sufficient.

        Maybe I simply cannot concisely relay my concern. Your father made a point that I also want to echo, we shall not always be obliged to follow the authority of parents or government. We only follow inasmuch as it agrees with the Lord. Again, Eph. 6:1 and 1 Cor. 9:19-23. We obey in the Lord.

        We have to "go along with the government" as far as it respects the law of God, and no further. This sentiment has been expressed nicely over many of the comments since my first contribution, however, before it, i felt that distinction was not made clear. If any change of day of worship was to occur, it would not be dictated by the "whims of men" (my first comment).

        The end does not justify the means in Christianity. So even though i might agree with the change, the reason has to be clear. This is where i believe it gets difficult, because at one level, many are discussing policy (do we make the change or not), while others on the same platform are discussing principle (why do we make the change.)

        I don't purport that either is deeper or more important than the other, because one relies on conviction and the other on practicality. We need them both. Practically, i agree with the change. But on a level of principle (reasoning) we can be thrown off there. God requires that we keep the law between the frontlets of our eyes (forehead) and in our hands. Deut 6:8. But Satan doesn't mind. He wants the mark on the hand OR on the forehead. Whether you DO the wrong thing, or are deceived about it, you have fallen into his trap. And so as the saints, we need to be prepared to understand AND do the right thing.

        To do the right thing without understanding the right is still deception. That is what i fear.

        As long as we understand that at any point, whether regarding the Sunday law, or any other arbitrary issue, if the govt. makes a decision that is not in line with Scripture, we have no obligation to obey, conform nor adhere to that law.

        " I believe that it is our deep love for God, our loyalty to Him, our deep concern for the salvation of others, our total dependance on God, and our thorough knowledge of the Scriptures." That was my last point. Our focus is simply the Lord, not the govt., and that should educate our decision. Its naive to think we can divorce the govt.'s involvement in this issue, i know. However, as you say that the effect of the decision on our Sabbath-keeping is incidental, the correlation between the once-off change in the weekly cycle and the govt.'s readjustment of the calendar might also be seen as incidental, that is, not being the reason for the change in Sabbath-observance in Samoa.

        I hope I've been a little clearer. Thanks for the constant reply, I have learnt quite a bit about practical application of principles affected by living on a round globe of a world. I still have a question about Sabbath-observance in polar regions if you wouldn't mind divulging some material that might be useful.


  13. I can see where this can be confusing. Were the first Samoan Adventists keeping a day for Sabbath that was not actually the seventh day? A day has to begin and end somewhere. If this change puts them back to the original seventh day cycle then all is well. Continue keeping Saturday as the Sabbath. There is indeed a glitch in the first week of this change but then after that you can be back on track and suffer persecution with the rest of us Adventists and not receive the mark of the beast that comes with Sunday worship. After all. Mainline Christianity will still be linked to Sunday and if those denominations would actually be worshiping on the true Sabbath now where would be the mark of the beast? It would cease to exist. Then again this would be localized to Samoa and not the rest of the world. It hasn't helped that in this change, days rather than dates were dropped.

  14. As a missionary to South Korea and Taiwan for several years, I can understand this issue well. There is a similar time issue as America is 16 hours behind. When flying to Asia, I gained a day. When flying home I "gained" an extra day. I kept the Sabbath in America on "Friday" which was the real Sabbath in South Korea. But I wasn't IN South Korea, I was home in Washington state at the time. I kept the Sabbath in USA time zone and when I flew to Korea, I kept the Sabbath there according to Korea's time zone.

    Whichever country I was in, I worshiped on the Sabbath of fellow worshipers in that country. My flights were never on the weekends to avoid any conflicts.

    I liked the suggestion that now Independent Samoa will be worshiping on the same day as fellow believers in China, New Zealand, and other countries in that same time zone. They should focus on this point and worship on the new Sabbath to bring them into line and unity with the other Sabbath keeping Adventists in that part of the world. I'm sure the Sunday worshipers are all united in worshiping on the new Sunday (which would be Monday). So, then it's pretty clear - worship the day before the 1st day of the week. First day worshipers will always let you know which day the 7th falls on! The day before the 1st. May God's wisdom prevail.

  15. I am somewhat surprised that nobody seems to have mentioned the Tongan situation (or perhaps I skimmed the comments too fast). The Tongan Seventh-day Adventist Church has been worshiping on Sunday for many years. Tonga is east of the 180 degree line but when the kink was put in the IDL to include it with NZ, the church made the decision to stay with the seven day sequence and worship on Sunday. I cannot find my material on this, but I have a hunch that is occurred in the 1920s.

    The lack of differentiation between the Seventh-day Adventist church and other churches have been a concern. My brother worked there for several years as a teacher, and while he respected the local observance, he always felt very uncomfortable about it. One of my colleagues who taught in Tonga many years ago said to me that when asked about the Tongan Sabbath problem, he would talk very fast, because he did not know the answer.

    Keeping Sabbath in an international community does pose problems. I have flown across the date line several times and have experienced both double Sabbaths and no Sabbath. I try to avoid traveling on Sabbaths but when traveling half way around the world sometimes it is a case of making the best of it. I left Sydney on Friday afternoon and arrived in San Fransisco on Friday morning the next day (which should have been Sabbath for me). However after struggling through jet-lag on my second Friday I was up bright and early for the local Sabbath and spent a day with a wonderful Californian congregation. So I effectively had two days of rest, one for jet lag, and one for worship. God knew what I needed.

    I do pray that the Samoan Church can make the change successfully. I am sure that God understands the issue of Sabbath-keeping on a round world. I appreciate the problems of coming to terms with both government policy, cultural expectations and Seventh-day Adventist belief.

    • Thank you, Maurice, for the additional perspective. Tonga was mentioned in the official statement from the Samoa Mission. I'm wondering this: In view of how long this problem has existed in Tonga, what does that say for our hopes of a local solution in Samoa? Perhaps Tonga didn't have a Samatau. Could Samatau be the key to solving the problem in both countries?

      • The decision to go with Sunday worship in Tonga was made long ago, when converts were probably more amenable to being told what to do by church authorities. I am not sure just how the Samatau situation is being regarded by Samoans in general. Normally I would have access to Samoan students, who could fill me in, but we are on summer vacation and I will have to wait till College commences again before I can contact them.

        The Tongan solution has not been without its problems. I am not going to elaborate here, as I am not Tongan and have Tongan friends (and they are a lot bigger than me and play Rugby.) It would be worth hearing from some of them; how they have perceived themselves and the church, as they have been worshiping on Sunday for about 100 years.

        I would like to add a couple of comments though on the Samoan situation. I suspect that most of the comments in this blog are coming from non-Samoans. I notice an absence of Samoan names among the authors. To a large extent this is a local issue and I am not sure that a lot of the comments are all that helpful. There are issues here that are not well understood by people outside the Pacific zone.

        To a large extent the issue revolves around whether human beings have the right to set a line where the new day begins. Some of the respondents seem to indicate that the 180th meridian is somewhat sacred. Which means that the 0th meridian through Greenwich in England is also sacred. These lines have been decided arbitrarily (to everyone except the British) If Paris or Jerusalem had been selected as the 0th meridian we would have had the same problem in a different place. I do not see a problem with countries making commercial decisions about which side of the date line they belong. The original decision by Samoa to go with the "American Side" was an example of flattery and ego stoking by a nation that I will not mention by name! It is probably quite right that the issue be redressed now.

        Incidently Alaskans had a similar problem when the US of A bought Alaska from the Russians in the 1860s for $7.2 million. Probably just as well that there were not to many Seventh-day Adventists in Alaska at the time.

        Obviously for Samoan Adventists the issue is frustrating and somewhat painful. I can understand that. They should take some comfort in that the issue is a result of commercial interests only and is in no way meant to be a test of theological loyalty. God understands the issues of Sabbath on a round world. For what it is worth, I pray that whatever solution ultimately prevails, they remain united in faith.

        Actually I have a somewhat facetious solution. Why don't we celebrate Sabbath for 48 hours - the total time that it is Sabbath on the earth? It would be the same right around the globe and no one could argue about it. Personally, I think the way we worship and rest on Sabbath is ultimately more important than worrying about where the dateline is and who authorized it. Having grown up in New Zealand and living most of my life in Australia, I am aware of several Adventists who traveled from England to the Antipodes through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific and lost their faith on the date line. How sad.

  16. RG,
    Very good point about the Canadian crossing the date line and worshiping on a different day of the week for two weeks in Korea, than crossing the dateline again and worshiping a different day of the week again in Canada. Who know for may a year or two, then doing it all over again. I would like to go back to my previous post, it matters that I worship on the Seventh day Sabbath rather than Sunday. I have faith that Christ will lead me to the right decision when the trial comes. Why? Because I have already made the decision to keep the Seventh day Sabbath holy long before the trial comes.
    Seventh day Adventist Sabbatarian,

  17. Let's imagine this situation: You're coming from NZ to Samoa before the change. It's Friday and, according to the timezone you arrive on Sabbath. Would you say that it is NOT Sabbath because it's still Friday in NZ? Would you wait until Sunday to worship and feel good going back to NZ? Obviously NOT! It was Sabbath! So you probably went there prepared to attend to church as soon as you leave your hotel.

    Now imagine you were going from Samoa to NZ. I suppose it was great because if you left Samoa before Sabbath ending you would have a 48-hour Sabbath! Now, would you omit the fact that the "second Sabbath" was Sunday in Samoa and go to a mall or play a cricket match? Obviously no! You would go there prepared to keep two Sabbaths!
    All the Samoan government did was to take all the brethren back to NZ, so to speak. So, Sabbath is still Sabbath in the new calendar!

    I think it's not as complex as we think except for one issue: culture! They have been keeping Sabbath as they did for more than 100 years, so they think they do the right thing and feel proud of facing the new dictatorial rule that defies the Holy Law of God. But for those out of the Samoan cultural circle is easy to see that there's not a big deal about keeping Sabbath holy under the new conditions.

    What is happening here is just a test we will face as Adventists. Someday, Sunday will be called Sabbath and the 7th day of the week. Just take a look to your calendars and will see Sunday as the seventh day at the end of the weekly cycle. Just ask a child what are the days of the week and s/he will start to mention them Monday, Tuesday..., Sunday. If I take a Spanish dictionary (my mother tongue, and remember we have a royal academy of the tongue that rules the usage of language) and look up for the definition of Sunday, it now appears as the seventh day of the week! Would some adventists say when the Sabbath (Sunday) keeping law was enacted let's keep the seventh-day (Sunday) holy just because culturally speaking now Sunday is called Sabbath?

    And this is not the only issue affected by culture in our church. The way we preach, the way we sing, the way we consider (or segregate, sadly) others is cultural. How can we escape from our cultural circle to obey God's will? Greetings from Bogotá, Colombia.

  18. While prayerfully reading many of your posts in re: the Samoan's Sabbath Puzzle (SSP), I find it not much of a surprise because Daniel foresaw this happening in his dream. "... and think to "change times" and the laws..."(Daniel 7:25). So, watchout for the smart strategies of the "little horn" working behind the scenes!!! The Bible makes it clear that even the very elect will be deceived! I do not claim to be an expert on this issue but I know that the situation is a call for prayer and fasting. We are all in the same boat as the Samoan brothers. It is coming!!!

    Unfortunately, unless these prophecies are fulfilled, the end will not come. If the end does not come, that means that we are stuck here forever! So, let these prophecies unfold so we can go home.

    Now back to the dilemma, I realized that we have a similar scenario recorded in the Bible. While in the foreign land, the four Hebrew boys; Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were given new names that represented foreign gods and etc... Did they go on strike over this issue?

    We know that their nick names did not affect their characters whatsover. They purposed in their hearts and continued to be what God would have them be. They allowed the birds to fly over their heads but not to build nests on their heads. I think this is how the Samoan brothers need to handle this situation.

    We are told to REMEMBER the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. If your family decided to celebrate your birthday on the 26th instead of the 27th (for their convinience) would you change your DOB to the 27th?

    The fact that the Seventh Day Sabbath has been nicknamed Sunday does not change the Day. Sabbath will always be Sabbath no matter the nickname it receives.

    • In this case, neither the name of the day nor the date was changed. The Sabbath still falls on the same day of the week (Saturday) as before and on the same date as it is kept by Seventh-day Adventists around the world. The calendar was not changed, but Samoa moved to the west of the date line and can now celebrate the Sabbath at the beginning of its journey around the planet, rather than the end.

  19. Consider twins who live in London. One moves an hour (time zone wise) East while the other moves an hour West. The Sabbath for each shifts an hour from what it was in London and now begins two hours different from each other.

    Have them make another hour move further East/West. Now their Sabbaths are two more hours apart -- but still reasonbly the same day.

    Keep this up until both twins have moved to either side of the date line. As far as physical distance they may be within a few minutes swim. However their Sabbath's begin 24 hours apart. Which one is right?

    I submit they both are. And both can defend their position based on the multiple one hour moves they made.

    • Thank you, Steve. I believe that you have expressed the concept very well. Now, to apply it to our discussion, once the twins have reached opposite sides of the date line, and are celebrating the Sabbath 24 hours apart, what happens if the date line is moved, so that they are now both on the same side of it? Do both twins celebrate Sabbath together, or does the one resolutely continue according to what he has already been doing, ignoring the fact that the date line has been moved?

      • Let's start with one twin visiting the other. It would be prudent that both would worship on the Sabbath that was utilized by the twin being visited.
        I once left Seattle on a Friday afternoon headed to the Philippines. Several hours later (without experiencing a sunset) we arrived in Tokyo just before sundown at the end of Sabbath (Tokyo time). My Sabbath that week was all of 20 minutes long (not having kept track of when we crossed the IDL). I worshiped with the Philippine brethern on their Sabbath.

        So now the IDL moves so that both twins are on the same side. Which twin is still on the same side as before the move? That is the Sabbath to use (in my mind). The other twin has essentially circumnavigated the long way around the globe one hour at a time and kept track of what that meant for Sabbath observance and now finds that their Sabbath is the same as the twin that used to be across the IDL.

        In sort, we have believers in each time zone. They have a long-standing structure (based on their zone offset from the prime meridian) of local date and time (including day-of-week). When you come from another time zone (whether based on physical or logical move) you should use the convention already established for the time zone to which you are arriving (even if you didn't take a physical step to make the move). Of course, that is my opinion based on the perponderance of fellow believers already worshiping in that (new to me) time zone.

  20. Hi,

    I have read a few of the post but not all. I lived in Tonga for 6 months my family came with me and spent the first 23 weeks there. To our surprise we could not find a church open the first Sabbath. Each church we went to was closed and at one church we found the members cleaning the church. Confused we asked and was told that church would be the following day. My family had a boat cruise booked for the following day, Sunday, we were absolutely confused, should we continue to celebrate Sabbath that day and go on the cruise the following day or worship the following day and not go to the cruise. After some discussion and prayer we did both. We continued our Sabbath worship, we went to church the following day and we enjoyed the cruise. Crazy you say, yes it was. That "sabbath" Sunday, at Sabbath Pastor Manu Latu, Mission President explained the story and the dilemma. He explained the presentation he made to the GC, the discussion points raised and the reason for their decision to let Tonga folks worship on Sunday.

    It is confusing living on the time zone as sometimes I spent 2 Sabbaths in one weekend as I flew between Tonga and Fiji on Saturday Evening and arrived at the beginning of Sabbath on Friday evening on a 1 1/2 hour trip. Then leave Fiji on Saturday on their Sabbath and arrive in Tonga for Sabbath on Sunday. It is confusing to even write the scenario back to you now. However, it is most confusing to a person whose mind is fixated on "Saturday" as the Sabbath.

    Folks, we are fixated on the NAME of the day instead of the principle. The principle says we worship on the 7TH DAY which DID NOT HAVE A NAME AT CREATION. I must emphasize that point. It really does not matter what the name of the day is as long as we stick to God's direction, the 7th Day. If we move away from the name of the day we can better grasp the situation and understand, more so accept the solution.

    Final point - in such countries there is actually an evangelistic opportunity in having Sunday as the 7th Day. We prove to others that it is NOT the day itself i.e. Saturday that is the focus but the 7th Day. Secondly, there is no work on the Sunday and the members of our church no longer have conflicts with working on the Sabbath. Since Saturday was a weekend day I had time to complete work late Friday evening and even on Saturday morning being able to go very gracefully and more relaxed into "Sabbath" time as we had that break on Saturday. I have experienced this myself in Tonga.

    • Dear Curt,

      I find your comments very interesting. You said:

      "Folks, we are fixated on the NAME of the day instead of the principle. The principle says we worship on the 7TH DAY which DID NOT HAVE A NAME AT CREATION. I must emphasize that point. It really does not matter what the name of the day is as long as we stick to God’s direction, the 7th Day. If we move away from the name of the day we can better grasp the situation and understand, more so accept the solution."

      Maybe some folks are fixated on the name, but I don't think that I am. So I feel ready to try your idea. Let's move away from the name of the day and see what happens.

      It was December 29, the 5th day of the week, in both Samoas, American and independent. The time in those two countries, during that day, was GMT minus 11 hours. Then, in order to shift the International Dateline, independent Samoa skipped a day. Consequently, the next day was December 31, the 7th day of the week both in independent Samoa and in New Zealand. The time in those two countries, during that day, was GMT plus 13 hours.

      If a suggestion were made that it was December 31, the 6th day of the week, in Samoa, one could hardly entertain such an idea. December 31, 2011 was the 7th day of the week everywhere in the world, whether East or West!

      As for principle, no one has yet suggested to us any compelling reason to believe that American Samoa time is any more God-ordained than New Zealand time (which all Samoa was using prior to 1892), and that the change should therefore be rejected. I believe that is why so many comments here, from Toka and from others, support acceptance of the change as a matter of principle.

      Was Samoa's weekly cycle interrupted? Of course it was. As so many others have pointed out, that's what happens when you cross the International Dateline. Please do be sure to read everything, so that you do not miss anything that might be helpful to you.

  21. As I understand it, if Seventh-day Adventists in Independent Samoa continue to observe the day that used to be "Saturday" which is now "Sunday", they will be observing the same day as all other churches. Talk about Sabbath Keeping By Default. Amazing!

    The International date line as we now have it, was set by man. Therefore, the government of a country close to the line can choose to change which day of the week it is in their country, relative to what suits them for trading, etc.

    The fact of the matter is that Samoa has now reverted to what existed prior to 1892. If we follow the hardline that the day which was the Sabbath last week remains the Sabbath this week, then it means that since 1892, the day being observed as Sabbath in Samoa, is actually Sunday. This is confusing.

    The blessing for Sabbath-keeping is pronounced on those who observe it. Whatever we do, when it is Sabbath in any one country, it is another day elsewhere, based on the movement of the earth in relation to the sun. We can't change that.

    Therefore, the Sabbath should be treated like a bus going to town. You hop onto it whenever it reaches you. Whereas I agree that the Samoan Adventists should work out this dilemma, I am recommending that whatever day of the week is observed in the country as the seventh day, that is the one!!!


    The current division in beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa over which day to observe the Sabbath has resulted in a request to the Samoa Government to use the Prayer House on Mt. Vaea for church service starting this Saturday morning. It is confirmed that the Government have granted the request by members of the SDA church who reside in Apia and the surrounding suburbs; in particular those that continues to observe the Sabbath on Saturdays in what was the practice of the church in Samoa spanning 120 years and remains true everywhere else in the world today (except Tonga for similar reason).

    Lance and Merita Cutts said, “We are very thankful to the Prime Minister and the Government for accepting our request, also acknowledging the Constitution of Samoa which protects individual’s right to worship freely.”

    The recent change in Samoa’s position to the International Dateline is central to the division of convictions of Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa, and also the beliefs of Samoans overseas. Recently a decision was made by the Samoa-Tokelau Mission to change the customary observance of the Sabbath on Saturdays being the seventh day of the week to Sunday starting 1st January this year. There is however a strong stand by some members of the church who disagree with the direction of the church leadership in Samoa in light of Samoa being on the same side as Australia and New Zealand where the Sabbath is observed on Saturday. Further concern was raised regarding the inaccuracy of the notion by the church in Samoa citing a change in the naming of days by the Samoa Government. In addition is the development of a new calendar by the SDA church in Samoa which has Monday as the first day of the week, ending on the Sabbath while omitting Sunday completely.

    Last Sunday marked the first time Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa have worshiped on a Sunday with other denominations, with the exception of some members of the Samatau SDA church who continue to observe the Sabbath on Saturday. Matautia Enesi a member of the Kosena SDA Church at Matatufu confirmed that a request had been tabled by those wanting to observe the Sabbath on Saturdays at Matatufu to access the church on Saturdays for their service as in the case of the majority that are now worshiping on Sundays. Confirmation that the Government Prayer House will now be opened for worship this Saturday thus indicate a growing number of members who will continue to observe the Sabbath on Saturdays in Samoa.

    According to Lance Cutts, “I visited the President of the church Pastor Uili Solofa assuring him that we have no intention to change religion or start up a new church. All our offerings and tithes will still come to the Samoa administration similar to the Samatau group’s intentions. Our only disagreement is with the church’s position to change the Sabbath day from the seventh day we continue to keep.” Lance Cutts went on to acknowledge the President of the church Pastor Solofa for the Christian attributes shown in supporting their request to Government to use the Prayer House, and also his blessing as head of the church.

    Despite the flow of emotions that is affecting many members of the church and now dividing families, there is faith that darkness will come to pass. We only need to reflect on Samoa’s struggle for independence to realize that standing for one’s conviction is never easy.

  23. I would like to say something about a rigid inflexible understanding of God's law.

    Suppose you permanently move from a western part of a country to an eastern part of a country and in doing so you have to cross into another time zone. Now the Sabbath comes around and you know what time sundown is. Question, are you going to adhere to the sunset schedule where you moved from? If you say no then I would suggest that you would be a bit hypocritical in saying that you would stick to a rigid day when crossing the date line and that would extend to a date line that has been moved.

    In a sense the Sabbath command is dynamic and somewhat flexible. When the Pharisees criticized Jesus for working on the Sabbath for harvesting some grain to eat He answered in this way.

    “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless” (Mat 12:3-5 NKJV).

    Or what about the times He tirelessly healed on the Sabbath or the time he said, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out” (Mat 12:11 NKJV see also Lk 14:5). The point He was making is that there are things that would normally be in violation of the Sabbath but are actually quite lawful. It doesn’t help much when we have a Pharisaical mindset and begin to lay down rules according to our narrow concepts of time and space.

    I really wish we would quit straining a gnat while swallowing a camel. The Sabbath hours are dependent on time zones and in a very real sense so is the day.

    • Brother Tyler, while i do thoroughly agree with your concluding statement, i do want to point out a particular issue you highlight, with the use of Matthew 12:3-5. Some others in the thread i believe have used this reference as well. I would simply ask we review what Jesus Christ was referring to in this passage because that may shed some light on what He meant.

      He refers to David eating the holy showbread. This happens in 1 Samuel 21. David is fleeing from Saul with his men and they come to the temple. David receives the bread from priest Ahimelech. However, David lies in order to procure the bread, saying that he was sent by the king on a secret mission (this injects a certain sense of urgency in the mind of the priest so that he doesn't have time to check with the king or delay David - so time is of the essence. David then tells him (i believe truthfully) that he and his men have been kept from women for three days. Moses relayed an order from God that the Israelites do this to sanctify themselves, making them holy before the Lord when he descended on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:10-15). So in a sense, David and his men were sanctified, making them holy (read from any version), meaning they were on the same level as the bread, making the bread common to them (but to them alone.) It didn't mean that the bread was now common bread, but simply that they were not defiling it with common vessels/hands/bodies. So they were not defiling the bread (contextually, they were not profaning the holy.)

      He then references the priests who profane the day but are guiltless. This is found in Numbers 28:9-10. The Levites were not to rest on Sabbath from offering sacrifices. On the contrary, God commands them to continue offering the daily sacrifices, and offer additional sacrifices every sabbath. This can be seen as work. However, it is also a direct command from God. This does mean that if we would want to profane the Sabbath i would ask if we have any command from God to do so, whether directly, by prophet, or scripture.

      Christ then relates His situation where He is overseeing the activity for which the disciples are accused. The 39 melachah (categories of prohibited activities on Shabbat) in the Mishnah Tractate Shabbat 7:2, in the Talmud, prohibits removing any plant from its source of growth on Sabbath. In other words, the accusation is from an extra-biblical, traditional source, not necessarily Scripture. Tradition and the commandments of men vs the commandments of God. That is another angle on this discussion.

      I am not saying that the Scripture is not relevant, but I feel that certain points are not being established. In all three cases discussed above, a direct command or personal supervision of the Lord was present to allow the men to profane the Sabbath. In all situations the holiness is still maintained and the focus on God/holiness still upheld. The God of the Sabbath will always be more important than the Sabbath of God. This must always be remembered, but this does not give anyone license to disregard the restrictions on the Sabbath at will. It means that to do good on the Sabbath and to render worship and sacrifice to the Lord is permissable (even encouraged), and that holy things may still not be defiled with common things.

      I just wanted to explore the text because some, including some of our Sunday-keeping friends, use this very passage to justify breaking the Sabbath in favour of Sunday.


      • Toka, you certainly have done a lot of research here and I appreciate your presentation of the background to what Jesus said in Matt 12:3-5.

        As good as all of this is it really is beside the point. Jesus was dealing with manmade rules that often contradicted the intent of the commandments. For instance He rebuked the Pharisees over their tradition of giving money to the church while neglecting the needs of their parents (Mat 15:4-6) and again in the way they focused on the minute while disregarding “the weightier matters of the law” (Matt 23:23).

        The incident of Matt 12 is also dealing with the same sort of issue; a total misunderstanding of what the Sabbath was about. We see this in Jesus' conclusion to the Pharisees by saying, “But if you had known what this means,`I desire mercy and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless” (Mat 12:7 NKJV) while Mark adds to what Matthew wrote, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 NKJV).

        The way Jesus handled the problem was to use one event in scripture where God’s specific command and instruction was clearly violated. The command Jesus was referring to was this:

        “Every Sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. And it shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place; for it is most holy to him from the offerings of the LORD made by fire, by a perpetual statute” (Lev 24:8-9 NKJV).

        It really didn’t make any difference how holy David and his men were, they were not priests in the lineage of Aaron. Therefore God’s command was violated but that violation was overlooked because mercy often overrides law and the more important thing was ministering to the needs of hunger.

        It was that simple principal that Jesus was applying to what his disciples were doing in the grain fields on the Sabbath. In turn I wish to apply to the Samoan problem the principal that “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27 NKJV). Unfortunately we often turn that around and think that man was made for the Sabbath and that the Sabbath completely overshadows the needs of man. In my opinion, when we do that we tend to become rather legalistic and judgmental, which is what I believe we are seeing in some of the comments.

        • Brothers RG and Tyler, and all others reading, thanks for the comments.

          Tyler did mention that references given in my reply were besides the point. However I think they are not. And no, I take no offence 🙂 They simply address another aspect of the issue.

          There are some who would agree or disagree with an opinion until they are given the details. Many a Sunday-keeping friend is amazed to know that the most pivotal principles of the New Testament are all but quoted from the Old (and as such are not new at all.) The references, while they may not make any important difference to the particular situation here, will inform the decisions and attitudes of those who read this thread. Early in the thread one asked what we would do if the situation in Independent Samoa were to manifest itself in my or your very own country tomorrow. Would we need a new article and thread? Or could people look to the points raised in this thread as a starting point? I was simply using this platform to further delve into the Matthew 12 matter. As RG pointed out much earlier, we seem to have a hole in the education of Adventists in places here and there, and I simply couldn't let the chance go by.

          My reason: three years ago I was utterly and completely out-debated on this issue by a youth leader at a Sunday church. Being only 15 months after being baptised I generally thought I knew and understood the fundamental beliefs like the back of my hand. This incident also happened only a month into university (I am 21 years old; I see, from your profile pictures, you are both quite older). This means you, and others, may have more experience in practical application of such matters, or may know more, however, these details have been asked of me by quite a few Christians (both Adventists and non-Adventists) on our campus and at our campus-church. I have had the privilege of teaching a baptismal class (not that this matters) and such questions come up regularly when dealing with the Sabbath doctrine.

          While the details may be my digression from the discussion at hand, this platform should also serve to remedy future and similar situations (like in Tonga), rather than address only this issue. Many of the youth, especially, may agree with your point simply because it is presented, and not because it is the correct understanding. I mean, even the fact that i reference these verses does not necessarily mean I fully, or partially, understand what I am reading. It simply is to present the situation in its full light so that others will be prompted to research more deeply about what we believe.

          I would that this thread somehow developed into a bible study, where each suggestion would provide another angle that can be explored, rather than, what i feel is, many conclusions being established. A conclusion must be reached, but, as RG knows, I like to stick to principles first, so that we are clear heading into the often-complicated applications and scenarios.

          Another point i only now realised from the article is that the church in Samoa decided to retain a seven-day cycle. I am trying to upload the official statement now to see if this seven-day cycle was considerate of the 'virtual' change in geographic positioning (virtual travelling around the globe that resulted in them 'landing' a day ahead of their weekly schedule.) I don't know if anyone could assist on this point.

          Anyway, I continue to follow the thread with eagerness to learn from points I had overlooked previously, and to modify my understanding accordingly; however, this does not mean I do not have an understanding of my own.

          There is a point Tyler raises that also might have a bearing on this issue, that some have raised before: "Therefore God’s command was violated but that violation was overlooked because mercy often overrides law and the more important thing was ministering to the needs of hunger." Support with 1 Timothy 5:8, James 2:14-17, and Mark 7:10-13. I hadn't quite appreciated the ministering angle because I thought it really was just an excuse. However, we should be mindful that faith alone, or law, or principles must always communicate the love of Christ, otherwise they do more damage than good. I have a saying: you have to do the right things in the right way. Doing the wrong thing is wrong. Doing the right thing in the wrong way is also wrong (as we see with the Pharisees). So whatever decision is made, there is the additional Scriptural requirement that it must still minister to the people of Samoa otherwise that great decision is of no use to the gospel. And that is why love is the greatest principle of all (1 Cor. 13:13). Hadn't before seen the physical hunger as important in that situation.

          Anyway, I shall continue to follow the thread to learn more (and comment where necessary).


  24. Reading through the comments my personal reaction would be to worship on the day called "Saturday" along with their neighbors that also have Saturday on the same day.

    Some suggest it doesn't matter what the day is called -- and to an extent that is true. I don't really like the name "Saturday" as it comes from the pagan planetary week names as well. However, I know Saturday corresponds with the 7th day of creation so the fact it's called "Saturday" doesn't bother me.

    Whereas SUNday has been the "venerable day of the sun". It's history is rooted in a counterfeit worship. The Christian Sabbath was deliberately transferred from the seventh day to the "venerable day of the sun". Just read Constantine's first "blue law". Constantine was a confirmed sun worshiper.
    So worshipping on the day called "SUNday" does make a difference.

    I also agree with Inge's comment

    "The Roman Catholic church claims that its authority is demonstrated by the fact that almost the whole world keeps Sunday for Sabbath, thus acknowledging its authority.

    Any statement that the Samoan Mission puts out will soon be forgotten. And those churches who choose to worship on Sunday, according to the dateline, will not have a testimony to give to other Sunday-keeping churches. That’s the way I see it

  25. 1. Had the time been moved backwards, would my brothers and sisters worship on Friday and have a 4 day working week while the rest of the country had a 5-day?
    2. If they worship on the same day as the Sunday worshipers, what distinguishes them as SDAs?
    3. Since the whole country realises a 5-day working week and 2 days weekend, when then does the SDA weekend start so they have both a cleaning day and a resting day? Clean on Saturday and worship Sunday?
    4. Do they work Monday to Friday (new IDL), then worship according to the old IDL? There should be consistency.
    5. This is not related to the 3 Hebrew boys' decision that the majority will worship the image while the few will stand their ground. I'm afraid instead that this might be a loophole through which Sunday observance is going to be enforced, seeing the church is already divided.
    I pray for unity, oneness and harmony for the good of the many believers in Samoa and the world church at large. I know it is a hard time, I want the Samoan administration to know that we have them in prayers, to unite the church - - and to be realistic. If the IDL changed and this brought the county in line with the NZ time line, the day of worship should thus be in line with NZ. All of us found ourselves in time zones determined by our governments, we followed along, and we are not breaking any Sabbath observance. Back to the upper room, united in prayer, Monday's part is about Loving unity. John 17: 20-23 - God bless

  26. Thanks for your comments.

    As a Samoan who lives in Auckland NZ & travel to Samoa regularly on Business & family Matters the current situation is silly to say the least.
    Its unnecessary headache for the church, with the time, energy,resources that has gone & will go into this "GREAT CONTROVERSY" the leadership both in the Samoa Mission & South Pacific Division would have connected a lot of Samoans by now in Samoa & Abroad to the the LORD of the Sabbath rather than focusing on the Sabbath (Sunday or Saturday).

    Samoa is a different case to Tonga.
    Pacific Islanders like Tongans & Samoans have a lot of respect, in Gods work - Trust in the Leaders of the church.
    I think that in Tonga's case the local leaders at the time respected the decision but I will doubt if the younger generation of today will go along with such a recommendation as Tongans have a lot of educated Academics (Phd's) etc.

    I think things will get worse before it will get better. It will be very hard for the SPD & Samoa Mission to change their decision as I feel that the church is trying to maintain an incorrect decision made way back then. Unfortunately Samoans are very different breed.

    There was not enough consultation leading up to the decision at the local level. Church members were only given one version which was more a final decision around Oct. Then Dec the change took place.

    Will you folks who live Abroad find that system acceptable if your local division or conference give you as a member 2 months or so & very little or no chance to discuss, recommend & have an input in a decision that will have an impact in your spiritual walk & witness?

    Samoans were the first island in the Pacific to become independent of US,Britain,NZ,Germany.

    Sometimes with our Adventist folks we make things too complicated -I remember in the 80s when the first so called "Celebration Churches" started in Auckland, there were so many theories & false information. Example The New Church's reason for using projectors & screens for songs & not hymn books was that they can raise their hands etc.

    I believe in Keeping things simple so that I & my fellowmen can understand & believe & for God to be glorified .

    Adventist Samoans 3rd, 4th generations like our families will never ever worship on Sunday.

  27. The whole subject of the sabbath is very simple in my opinion. I simply follow God's simple directive to rest and worship on the seventh day of the week. No matter what man does to the calendar I am sure God knows my simple intent to follow his fourth commandent. It is a big deal because most people think not of breaking the commandment to not kill. If God sanctified this particular day I am sure in all his wisdom he would have indicated very clearly in no uncertain terms the change in the day of the week. It does matter what day we observe. We observe our birthdays, holidays, tax days and many other occasions on the specific day that they belong to and we dare not say it does not matter what day of the week they fall on. Men, try to tell your wives that the day you observe your wedding anniversary does not matter. Is not the Sabbath so much more important!

    • Dear Carlton,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I agree that we should simply do as God says and remember that the 7th day is His Sabbath. I also agree that it matters a great deal that we observe the 7th day, and no other. Nevertheless, I am having some difficulty understanding how you feel this applies to our discussion. I cannot recall anyone suggesting that it is of no consequence which day we observe as the Sabbath. Can you?

      I do recall something which I said does not matter. Whether the Samoan government and people choose to think of their country as being in the Far West of the world or in the Far East, is of no real significance, as far as I can determine. Neither do I believe that it matters whether a change in this reckoning requires a local adjustment to the weekly cycle. Sabbath keepers on both sides of the International Dateline can trace the weekly cycle right back to creation -- but not within the history of any particular country. The Garden of Eden was never in Samoa, I feel quite sure, nor was it in Tonga.

      So, if independent Samoa uses the American Samoa days and time, or if they reckon time in the same way as New Zealand, there doesn't seem to be any right way or wrong way, in any absolute sense.

      However, once the public has chosen how the days shall be reckoned, then I believe it is extremely important that we Adventists show our loyalty to Jehovah by observing the 7th day (a.k.a. Saturday) as His holy Sabbath, and not what the general public regards as the 1st day of the week!

      Shall we allow the enemy of souls to so frighten and confuse us that we shall find ourselves calling the 1st day (a.k.a Sunday) the Sabbath, and honouring the papacy by holding it sacred? How could we be so completely bamboozled?

      I'm sure that our church leaders mean well, and that God knows the sincerity of each one's heart. Nevertheless, I cannot believe that God is honoured when we fail to look to Him for wisdom, but lean on our own theories and understanding. May He have mercy on our "wise and prudent" ways!

  28. Why is this so difficult? If I understand this correctly, and please let me know if I am wrong. I don't think there were any SDA's on Samoa before 1892 when that change was made. So lets say that pre 1892 we had the correct day for the Sabbath and the seven day cycle was correct. The first change was made in 1892, gaining a day. This put the first Samoan Adventists actually keeping Friday for the Sabbath unknowingly because they didn't consider the previous cycle. Now the change is made to lose a day and without thinking about the previous change they decide to keep Sunday using the cycle of days. This new change actually put them back to the actual Sabbath. Am I missing something here? If Tonga wants to join Samoa on the Sabbath they can, in their mind, move the idl themselves to put them in the same day. After all the line is imaginary.

    • Dear Dean,

      I believe you have the facts right. However, I do see a problem with your interpretation of those facts, until the last part of your comment. I believe you found the key when you said, "After all the line is imaginary." I feel certain that the Samoa Sabbath keepers just need to move the idl, in their minds, to wherever the general public has put it. In regard to Tonga, I agree with you 100%.

  29. Thank you, Toka, for your contributions to this discussion. Among other things, you said:

    "I am trying to upload the official statement now to see if this seven-day cycle was considerate of the ‘virtual’ change in geographic positioning (virtual travelling around the globe that resulted in them ‘landing’ a day ahead of their weekly schedule.) I don’t know if anyone could assist on this point."

    Well, some say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here is my take on the official statement. We evidently did not attempt the long journey around the globe, but took a shortcut. We hit the IDL like a speed bump at 90 km/h and lost the Sabbath out the back of our lorry/truck. And no, I don't think it's funny either.

    • As we're nearing the final hours of this worlds history, it is of vital importance to constantly united with the Holy Spirit for guidance in every steps of the way. This is our only hope and shield from the enemy's darts of deceipt.
      The issue here is very simple; continue observing the Sabbath the 7th day (saturday) before this change or adjustment was introduced. Honor no new change or idl adjustments. When we try to get too technical with this issue we are being lure in to the point where we will find ourselves in more uncertainty. When we are inspired by the Holy Spirit all of satan's deceptions becomes transparent and elementary. Pursecutions will not come until we are stand unmoveable for God's honor and glory. Unite with Christ daily for the victory we need. CHEERS!!!

  30. For further insight into this question, I tried to see what was written about the international date line in early Adventism.

    I found this article in the Review and Herald, August 19, 1915, and am quoting just part of it. It opened a slightly different picture of the reckoning of time on this round world.

    "THE Seventh-day Adventist interpretation of the Bible with reference to Sabbath keeping requires that the seventh day of the week be identified beyond reasonable doubt. Most persons are satisfied with the evidence of the Bible, together with the information furnished by the calendars in use throughout the world. However, in modern times we hear considerable about the date line, and some cannot understand how we can keep track of the days on a round world.....

    From the earliest time historically men have regarded the day as starting in the Pacific Ocean, because to the ancients that was as far east as they could go; therefore it was to them the place of the sunrising.

    The date-line controversy is of very modern origin. The necessity for it was never felt till men of all nations became globe-trotters, which cannot go back beyond the discovery of the west boundary of the Pacific Ocean. For nearly six thousand years the world got along without a date-line controversy, and, according to the Bible, in all generations some obeyed God with reference to the Sabbath....

    After the discovery of America the two streams of migration met on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, and then followed this age of travel. Immediately the necessity of all beginning their reckoning at the same place suggested itself to the travelers.

    God put it into their minds to adopt a plan that would permit the globe-trotters, as well as those who stay at home, to keep the Sabbath if they want to. All the circumstances indicate that the beginning be reckoned from such place in the uninhabited wastes of the Pacific as would produce the least local confusion.

    And it is quite possible yet that some international commission may make additional suggestions in order to bring the practice of the inhabitants of some of the islands into' more complete uniformity with the whole world." ("The Sabbath and the Date Line", by C. F. MC VAGH, August 19, 1915 Review and Herald, page 6-7)

    It is quite clear that the pioneers of the Adventist Church always keep the Sabbath on "Saturday" the day before Sunday no matter where they were in the world. When EGW travelled to and from Australia she experienced two consecutive Thursdays one way, and a six day week the other way. While in Australia she kept Sabbath on Saturday, and while in America she kept Sabbath on Saturday without worrying that the international date line lay between and she had either gained or lost a day.

  31. I truly believe that if you deal with the Sabbath in a simple, innocent, prayerful way, God will bless you. The whole subject is now becoming too complicated and blown out of proportion in my opinion. There is talk of calculating the placement of the IDL, and the day when Samoa switched over and this and that. If you go to the Lord in prayer and let him know that you truly want to follow the Sabbath and ask him to guide you in the matter I feel you will be blessed. I Love all the brethren and sisters that are discussing the matter but some of the "scholarly" types may be leading us" simple laypeople" into confusion. In the Army they used to tell us to keep it simple stupid-pardon the pun! If you follow the original seventh day or the new one, whichever one you feel is sincerely true, I do believe the Lord will still Love you regardles! It is good to be of one accord but if there is no consensus let us individually come to an accord with the Lord.
    May God Bless you all!

  32. Morning Folks

    Some of the problems with maintaining the unbroken cycle in Independent Samoa right now as a True Adventist you will be a day behind of everyone else. So while Samoans keep Sunday as their Sabbath, you will also keep the same day & call it Saturday (7th Day Sabbath). The next day is Monday when everyone is off to work. To keep with your weekly day cycle it's Sunday & you will work around the house, go to the beach etc.

    If this is how Adventist in Samoa will operate I'd say most of them will be out of a job within a week or so.

    Its Ok for Aso Ilaoa to say keep the cycle & worship on Sunday as his family is from American Samoa who worship on Saturday Sabbath

    -Talofa to you Bro long time no hear- Aso's Dad & Family were some of the great leaders in American Samoa in the 60's when my parents were Ministers there.

  33. Carlton, it is quite possible that the discussion got a little too technical at times, but personally I don’t think that is necessarily bad. I think our model should be Jesus who was able to communicate with people on every level, yet He was not simple in His thinking. In fact there are passages of scripture that suggest rather strongly that we should not remain mental midgets (Prov 1:22). For that matter the entire book of Proverbs is one of those places where knowledge and wisdom are praised and sought after. In the New Testament Christ showed us through one of His parables that talents are to be improved (Mat 25:14-30) and I believe one of those talents is our mental ability.

    While I believe all of that is true, we must also remember that talents and the gifts of the Spirit are not evenly distributed. There are geniuses and then there are those who simply can’t handle things on the genius level.

    So to me, one who never graduated from college, the Samoan problem is indeed so simple that it can be explained in this way: Because we don’t live on flat land, but on a round world that figures its days according to the earth’s rotation, of necessity a day must start somewhere. The international community has decided to draw an arbitrary line from pole to pole, which we call the International Date Line, that determines where a day starts. As the earth spins on its axis the hours of that day progress until we come to the next day.

    Therefore depending on which side of that line we are on we can either be one day ahead or one day behind those who are on the other side. For us I think the important thing to remember is that that line is indeed arbitrary and something man has determined in order to have everyone operating on the same page, it is a convention that eliminates confusion.

    From that convention everyone determines the days of the week. When the Sabbath starts in Australia it is still Friday in Europe or Africa. Furthermore that line is a rather recent construction that happened when trade became international and time was elevated in importance.

    As has already been pointed out if we travel across the date line we automatically adjust our daily schedule to our destination – we don’t keep our previous day. In other words if we fly out on Monday, cross the date line and arrive at our destination on what in that place is considered Tuesday we always consider it Tuesday along with everyone else there, not Monday. I never have heard of anyone having any trouble doing that except for a little jet lag that affects us biologically. Because of that I have trouble understanding why moving the date line is such a big deal. It really is essentially the same as traveling from one side of it to the other.

  34. "The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. While the observance of the false sabbath in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God's law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God."

    E.G. White - The Great Controversy, 1888, pg. 605

  35. It would not surprise me if, once the second coming happens and we are called up, there are many surprised people from many communities of faith about which "day" is "correct". My own $0.02 towards the discussions is that what ultimately matters is what God wants. One possible solution, if it were practical to do so, would be to go live on the moon. 😀

  36. Thank you all for your comments, suggestions and concerns on this post. I have been following it up and managed to read all the 89 responses. From these 89 responses I read I have noted that there are those who are for the change and those who are against directly or indirectly. Each group has basis on their arguments whether historically, biblically or otherwise. In comparison, I have discovered that the majority are in favor of the change and according to them is that the matter should be regarded as simple mathematics as 1 + 1 = 2. However, in my view, I should say that this should not be viewed being such simple as most think unless one enlightens me on the following.

    Historically, it is true that our brothers will be observing the Sabbath as it were in 1892. However, as I read from Tesese is that the first Adventist missionaries arrived in Samoa after the change, which means believers were introduced to the True Sabbath which they observed since then to 29th of December 2011. This was in line as their belief started from there henceforth; it is like when a child is born his/her existence starts then.

    Biblically, I agree that there is nowhere in the bible where one can find names of the week i.e Sunday, Saturday ……………. Rather we should rely on the cycle of 7 days a week. Needless to say, this is where the confusion comes in to the mission leaders in Samoa and myself I suppose. I will give you this illustration (rather a real situation) and would like to have the answer. As we can see from the calendar our brothers and sisters in Samoa they observed their Sabbath on 24 December 2011 according to the cycle of 7 days a week what would have been the next 7th day?

    Another important point to note is that the change was made for the interest of the government i.e doing business with Austrilians and Nz not that there was natural circumstances to the change. In doing so dont you think we will be compromising our belief with the interest of the government?

    I urge you all to take this matter to God in prayer especially during this program of the 10 Days in the Upper room for our brothers and sisters in Samoa to unite in Christ.

    God Bless!

    • My dear Helen,

      The biggest problem I see here is inconsistency. By partly going along with the Government decision in some aspects and partly rejecting others thus:

      1. You worship on Sunday knowing it is the 1st day (accepting it is called a Sunday by the Government and worshiping together with the Sunday worshipers)
      2. You accept the working week as Monday - Friday (In line with the Government)
      3. You refuse to acknowledge Saturday as the 7th day while at the same time accepting the IDL in all other respects but that one.

      So would you stay home on Monday calling it your Sunday and work on Saturday calling it Friday? Here is a problem of inconsistency.

      Coming from Africa where sunset is 18:30 daily the year around - to Europe where sunset depends upon the time of the year and having crossed into a new time zone, God's holy Sabbath to me starts and ends following this new sunset- here where I currently am.

      My fear has always been that this might be the beginning of a confusion that will lead us into Sunday law, when we ourselves are confused and divided; therefore this is an issue that calls for fervent prayers, good enough we are still in the upper room (Operation Global Rain) so I pray that the administration will feel the need to straighten up and follow the Samatau decision.

      Stay blessed.

  37. Dear Helen,

    Thank you for your input into this discussion. Right now, I can see two things standing in the way of clarity on this issue:

    1) I believe that, if we are to understand this issue, we need to look at the larger picture. Especially, for the Samoans who read this, please don’t just think about Samoa, and maybe Tonga. We are a world church. According to God’s command, we seek to observe the 7th day of the week as His holy Sabbath all around the world. This command is based on the events of creation week, and was introduced to our first parents in the Garden of Eden, which was probably somewhere in present-day Iraq. So, as I see it, there needs to be only one Sabbath day for the entire world. It seems to me that any proper solution to this problem must make sense for the whole world, and not just for Samoa.

    2) The other is our unquestioned assumptions. It seems to be an axiom of logic that, no matter how carefully we may reason, if our premises are false, then our conclusions will be flawed. Hence I believe that it is of vital importance that every idea, expressed or implicit, be tested by Scripture and/or enlightened reason.

    So, how can we avoid these two problems, and achieve clarity in this matter? I believe that the solutions have all been stated already, somewhere in the article or in the comments. With God’s help, we just need to dust them off and bring out their true significance and application. In perhaps a new angle, let’s take the two courses of action which have been suggested, and see how they fare when evaluated in light of the two potential problems mentioned above.

    First, let’s think about the idea of resisting the Samoa government’s change in reckoning the days, as far as Sabbath is concerned, in order to maintain a locally unbroken weekly cycle.

    1) Again, the idea here is to say, “If it was the right day before, it’s the right day now.” But, what is the result of this kind of thinking? From a world perspective, independent Samoa and New Zealand are on the same day, and even in the same time zone. Yet we have our Seventh-day Adventist believers, in these two countries, observing two different days as the “7th-day Sabbath,” and one of these days is called, of all things, “Sunday!” Is it only I, Helen, or do you see a problem with that? To me, this proposed solution makes no sense from a worldwide perspective. I suggest that we move past thinking only about the history of Samoa, and consider the worldwide history of the Sabbath day.

    2) What about unquestioned assumptions? Need we assume that the "right day" will always be according to a locally continuous weekly cycle, regardless of the circumstances? Here again, I believe that we must step back and look at the larger, global picture, in order to test this assumption.

    As Tyler has put it, on a round world the day has to start somewhere. Testing everything by Scripture and reason, is there one definitive place on earth where we must necessarily consider the day to begin? I believe the answer is no. Many seem to consider the 180th meridian to be that place, but on examination this idea has, in my view, been found to be groundless. One person even suggested using Israel as a mid-point, but again it seems no reason can be given for this approach.

    This, of course, raises another issue. Wherever, for the sake of our Sabbath observance, we may choose to reckon the days differently from the local government and the general public, we are then moving away from the “sunset Friday to sunset Saturday” holiness to some other day. If we do this without necessity, I believe that it can only be catastrophic to our testimony for God’s holy day. This is why I believe we must question our assumptions.

    Again, it seems Tyler has done a very good job of this by comparing the shift of the International Dateline, from one side of Samoa to the other, with an individual (or group of people) traveling across the IDL. Such travelers seem to have no difficulty in making the adjustment. They show little or no concern about the fact that they may be experiencing a 6-day or 8-day week, thus breaking their own weekly cycle. It seems to be enough for them that the worldwide weekly cycle remains unbroken.

    Must Samoa have its own "unbroken weekly cycle," regardless of the larger consequences?

    Could “sunset Friday to sunset Saturday” be the correct day for Sabbath observance, both before and after the IDL shift? From a narrow, local perspective this may appear to be two different days, but not from a global perspective. Only the day no longer ends in independent Samoa. It now begins there and ends in American Samoa. Can we not adjust our thinking (and our Sabbath observance) accordingly? I see no sin in that.

    So, what about the solution exemplified by the Samatau S.D.A. church? How does it stack up against our two potential problems?

    1) First of all, does it make sense from the larger, worldwide perspective? In a word, yes. Before the shift in the International Dateline, our believers in independent Samoa were observing the Sabbath along with their American Samoa counterparts, in a weekly cycle unbroken since creation. Since the change, our Samatau believers are observing the Sabbath along with their New Zealand brothers and sisters, in a weekly cycle unbroken since creation.

    2) What about unquestioned assumptions? First of all, are we merely assuming that “Saturday” is always the right day, as if the name itself had any importance? I think not. In observing the Sabbath from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, both before or after the IDL shift, we find that there is a continuum of fellow believers around the world, observing the same Sabbath as we are, stretching either to the east of us or to the west.

    For the sake of our present-day testimony regarding the sacredness of the 7th day of the week, and also for the safety of our souls, moving into earth’s final test, I believe it is imperative that we agree upon the correct solution to this problem.

    • Very well said, R.G.
      The early SDA brethren observed the Sabbath from 6pm Friday to 6pm Saturday for ~10 years until God straightened them out. We should not assume our earlier reckoning is the accurate one, and that any new reckoning is incorrect unless it can be shown thus from the scriptures.
      Does the church in independent Samoa believe that God has arranged everything so that everyone is now worshiping on Sabbath?
      We need to pray for our brethren that they might see the issue in a harmonious way that is not undermining of their witness.

  38. Here are a couple of questions to ask which make things a bit clearer in my mind:
    If there were no Adventists currently living in independent Samoa, and we sent some missionaries in there today and obtained some new converts by the grace of God, what day would we teach them to worship on?
    Whenever there are visitors to the country who are Adventists, what day will will they expect to worship on, and what would their reasoning generally be?
    The Sabbath is holy because God said so, not because of any inherent properties in the day itself. In most parts of the world, the sun doesn't even rise and set at the same time all year, just specific minutes of the physical day can be deemed holy at one time of year, and not at another.

    • Interesting. I've always wondered how Sabbath is observed at higher and lower latitudes like Norway and Alaska. This challenges me to really understand what God requires rather than what I want to offer Him.

  39. I dont think there is a problem of them worshipping on the day their government have provided for them because Ezek 20:31 tells me God will judge people according to where they come from

  40. This seems that it is serious dilemma in our church. Some thought the answer is simple. Some thought that it should not be simplified. If music genre and bible versions already divided many of Adventist churches, how much more this would be.
    I think issues here are
    1. Identity of Samoan church with the community in terms of the day of worship
    2. extent of the influence of governments shifting the days especially those that are in the IDL in our sabbath keeping
    3. Adventist Pioneers sabbath day legacy when they started the church in Samoa
    4. Historical changes in the IDL in that region
    5. Continuity of the 7-day cycle and whether God endowed holiness on the physical minutes of the sabbath day based on the original sabbath cycle on eden or it is endowed based on the human knowledge of time.
    (i.e. we keep the sabbath not at the same time around the world, but when God rested and blessed that first sabbath during the first Friday sunset in eden, most likely opposite region of earth where the Samoa is still in early morning of Friday)
    6. Technicalities regarding division of day in IDL (GMT, original location of Eden)
    7. Validity/Acceptability of human sincerity when detailed explanation in the Scriptures are not explicitly stated
    in this kind of modern issue
    8. The authority of the local conference/union in their territory and the extent power of the worldwide body of believers to define rules for local members

    There are many other issues but i think these ones are among prominent.Though its much convenient to stay neutral in this issue, it seems that there is no way one can compromise or be neutral in this kind of issue.

    Some questions are needed arise in my mind when I heard this story:
    1. Is it possible that the church (local, conference or world church) may decide (whatever decision it is)about this issue today and later found out that what they have made a mistake in that decision and later change it? (Our church leadership and official postions even those that are proclaimed by the highest levels are not infallible, as we can see from our history).
    2. If the church leaders or individual are not infallible, must they be obeyed based on the divine Providence that appoint them in that position so that the unity and credibility of our church can be preserved? Or must we respect the freedom of conscience and risk a major division in our church in this issue? (Remember, if we are not careful to have a clearcut explanation in the official decision, opponents of our church can capitalize this issue as an example to prove our inconsistency regarding what we believe)
    3. What could be the advised from out late messenger/prophet Ellen G. White had she had been alive she been alive during these days? (Though often times she delivered messages that is cuts our conscience which most of us do not like, how would be well if someone like her can say to us "Thus saith the Lord to the believers in Samoa and to the Adventist church as a whole...)
    4. What if this scenario happened not only in Samoa but in the whole world when an international government association like UN or G20 decide to shift the day of the whole world based scientific fact (which obviously would be a fabrication of "scientific data") or some economic reason? How would we stand?
    5. Can I flee to Samoa to avoid persecution when worldwide Sunday law happens and at the same time keep my sabbath with a clear consience?

    I admit that I do not know now what should be the correct position of our church in this issue. But what I believe is that God has the corrects answer for these problems and because He love us so much to the extent that He gave his life for us, he would not desire to leave us divided and confuse in this serious issue, especially if all we want is to follow His will. He may just want to show us that despite our century and a half long knowledge regarding the doctrine of Sabbath, we still have many things to learn and still needed to seek diligently again our Scriptures just like our pioneers before us. May God bless our church with the knowledge of God and presence of His spirit.

    • Dear Laodi,

      Thank you for your valuable contribution to this discussion. Much has been said here already, in regard to your 8 points. By way of review, and in the interest of brevity, I’ll just touch on them.

      1. On the need to identify with the community, frankly, this issue is huge in the view of a number of commentators.

      2. Any government influence over our Sabbath keeping seems to be incidental in this case. The very worst possibility (according to the "official" opinion) would be our observing the 6th day as the Sabbath. Even then, that would not be the false papal Sabbath (i.e. Sunday) against which we must be on guard.

      3. I can just imagine our pioneers rolling over in their metaphorical graves, to think that any effort to honour them should lead our people into "Sunday" observance now.

      4. A focus on the historical changes in Samoa seems to lead only to confusion, with some saying that the Samoans must now observe "Sunday," while most (unintentionally) imply that American Samoans should have been observing "Friday" ever since 1892. It appears the only way out of this confusion is to look beyond the history of Samoa and to develop a global perspective.

      5, 6. If God has indeed endowed holiness on the physical minutes, we seem to lack any real basis for deciding just what minutes these might be, roughly halfway around the world from Eden. And it seems it may be just as well, as the implementation of our own technically correct “Sabbath-keeping Dateline” could only lead to some highly impractical results, including "Sunday" and/or "Friday" observance in various locations. The only way out of this problem appears to be acceptance of the International Dateline, even if it means adjusting to any changes.

      7. Are we asking the right question? Rather than ask whether God will accept our sincerity, perhaps we should be asking how we can honour His name before the world. Even if the Scriptures offer no detailed explanations of Sabbath keeping on a round world, we still have the words of Christ that "the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." Shouldn’t this settle the matter?

      8. It appears that those who differ with the mission leadership on this issue are motivated by deep personal convictions, seemingly supported by the facts.

      I like your 5 questions.

      1) Many are praying for just such a change.

      2) As I see it, we Adventists have always given freedom of conscience the highest priority. I guess we just never thought that it would come to this.

      3) The inspired counsel of Ellen White (as I see it) was always of a practical nature. So, I think that we may safely assume that she would be against any impractical solutions.

      4) Clearly, having the whole world's day shifted would be a very different matter from what we are facing now. For our Samoan brothers and sisters, accepting the present change only means observing the Sabbath along with our New Zealand believers, in a cycle unbroken since creation, just as they have been doing heretofore with our believers in Hawaii and in American Samoa.

      5) "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?"

      Now, here’s a good question! Does anyone have an answer?

  41. LEAP YEAR! United States and others observe leap year every 4 years. One whole day is added to the end of February every 4 years. Are United States citizens in violation of the Sabbath?

    Unfortunately, this has been made too difficult. Any country recognizing the Gregorian calendar should observe Saturday, the 7th day, as Sabbath.

    • I'm sorry but your leap year theory doesn't hold water because you don't have double days or skip a day. The weekly cycle stays intact and only the number of the day changes just like it does for all months whether they have 28, 29, 30 or 31 days. It doesn't matter what the number is you still have 7 day weeks.

      • So then, if some of our Samoan brothers and sisters who are having difficulty with the day of worship as it is presented to them now should travel to another region for an extended period, would they still hold fast to their conviction and try to rationalize what day it is or are they going to fall in line with the other sabbath keepers in that region and worship God as we ought. Let us all pray that God would reveal to and convict the hearts of our brothers and sisters over there in Samoa.

  42. I am hoping to get a very clean,clear view on the Samoan Sabbath Sunday situation.
    I do not understand the fact regarding the time factor. Can some one make it clear so I'll be able to do same to others that are now in my position.

    • Dear Junior,

      In a nutshell, I'd have to say that there doesn't seem to be any practical value in looking for some kind of "technically correct" solution that doesn't make any common sense. The International Dateline is necessarily man-made and arbitrary anyway.

      Why do we exist as a denomination? Are we here to live for ourselves, or to meet the arcane requirements that some might try to attach to God's law? No, I believe that we must observe whatever the general public regards as the 7th day of the week, within reason, for the sake of our public testimony, if for nothing else. "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath."

      This would mean that our Samoan brothers and sisters need to make the adjustment, accepting a one-time 6-day week, and (yes) breaking their own local weekly cycle.

      I believe that this should be no problem for them, because the global weekly cycle will remain unbroken, as it has since creation. They just need to begin celebrating the Sabbath day with their New Zealand brothers and sisters, instead of being on the same day as American Samoa, as heretofore.

      I hope that this can be of help to you.

  43. I could explain it, but I think it's far less important than it is made out to be. I have heard people labour under many misconceptions--but this is usually as a result of many things; not the least of which is a lack of basic knowledge about things like time zones, the international dateline, the definition of a day etc.

    Basically, Samoa has jumped over the international dateline from the "American" side to the "Australian" side in order to align with Australia--their biggest trading partner.

  44. Jesus kept the Sabbath in Israel on the correct day. On the approximate opposite side of earth at the dateline (imagine it was there then), those on the west side would have started sabbath a few hours before Jesus, while those on the east side, a few hours after. To cross the dateline requires a one off 6 or 8 day week depending on the direction travelled. Samoans who now keep sunday as the 7th day, if they could afford the airfare, could board a plane and travel east around the world and would arrive home and find Saturday as the 7th day. Please accept the one off 6 day week and keep the day before the sunday keepers.

  45. [This comment has been moved from The Origin of the Sabbath and the 7-Day Week]

    Thank you Sean Pitmen for the insight of this posting. I was wondering within the context of this subject of the 7day cycle, how the Samoa change of time zone should be considered. The Samoan government for economic reasons, aligned the Samoa timezone to regional countries, Australia, New Zealand etc. The change was made on the Friday that resulted with the Saturday being eliminated and the new 7day cycle starting on the Sunday. Some 7th Day Adventists chose to remain with the old 7day cycle, thus now worshiping on Sunday, along with all other Sunday worshipping religions and others aligned their week with the (new) time zone change and remained worshiping on the Saturday.

    I travel frequently for my work and I am subject to time zone changes and wherever I am, I worship on the Sabbath according to the timezone I am in. In some instances, if I travel from the Southern to Northern Hemisphere, I am blessed to enjoy 2 Sabbaths back to back in the same week and if I am traveling from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere, I will miss a Sabbath, leaving my destination on Friday and arriving on at the next point, on Sunday.

    It is a dilemma for the Samoan 7th Day Adventists brethren, in that it has split the Church into two groups and in the case of those that have chosen to remain on the old 7day cycle and now worshipping on Sunday, the point of differentiation is now lost.

    I would be grateful for your insight and point of view on this (unfortunate) situation that has impacted the Samoan 7th Day Adventist community.
    Thank you, Ian Letele

    • Talofa Ian & All
      Ian's dad the late High Chief Leiataua Letele was an elder & great man of God in NZ & Australia who served together with my Dad, his younger brothers Dave & Lei are true warriors for God at our local church Calvary Community church.
      You are right our point of difference is now lost & our fathers who came from Sunday church families & have to endure so much becos of accepting the Seventh Day Sabbath witness has come to nothing as the church is now keeping Sunday.

  46. I think that the way we have traditionally presented and sought to preserve the Sabbath has a lot to do with this current dilemma we face.

    Interestingly enough, this is apparently the second time Samoa has jumped the Dateline, and thus, strictly speaking, they are back where they were when the dateline was originally set.

    As long as the Sabbath's purpose remains overwhelmingly a "test of obedience", our relationship towards it will be marred. I think we have badly erred in this regard--and for this reason alone I am wary of another (well-meaning) article on this site which seeks to talk about "circaseptian" rhythms.

    I think all this is badly misguided.

    On a related note, I wonder indeed if we can move to Samoa when the Sunday Laws come--and keep Sabbath on Sunday? (Not trying to make a point, it was just an interesting observation.)

    • H'mm... Andrew, if the devil and his followers can't tell the difference between a Sunday keeper and a Sabbath keeper, maybe Jesus won't make a difference either?

      After all, Jesus said, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven." Matt. 10:32 NKJV

      Food for thought, don't you think?

  47. Jerusalem's longitude is 35 degrees east. If the date line were 180 degrees west of Jerusalem it would be at longitude 145 west. Samoa is at longitude 173 west so the recent change puts it on the correct side of the "Jerusalem date line". The same argument holds if you use the Garden of Eden at longitude 45 east and a date line at 135 west.

    In any case it is better to worship on what the locals call Saturday.

  48. Thank you all for your valuable comments. Forgive me if I am being persistent on this as I am still confused.
    Before the change in December 2011 the Samoan were observing Saturday as the 7th day according to the 7 day weekly cycle. After the change which eventually occured on Thursday 29th December midnight by skipping 30th Friday and jumped to 31st Saturday, would this be the 7th day as per the 7 day weekly cycle? May be I am being too rigid but this is where I need help. Is it correct to have a 6 day weekly cycle at the beginning in order to aligne with the change and then continue with the 7 day weekly cycle?
    God bless!

  49. The time line need serious prayers from all the children of God of all the Four corners of the world, can it be passed we take a week of prayer asking God to intervene and choose for us His day? I believe if we make comments while we are on our knees,our ever knowing God will show us the meaning of all this, trust Him dear brothers and sisters He has all the timeline powers.

  50. Dear Helen,

    That's all right. We realize that, for many who have never had any experience with the International Dateline, this is an unfamiliar and potentially confusing topic.

    Yes, this is exactly what all of the facts, taken together, would seem to indicate. It is correct to have a one-time 6-day week in order to make the adjustment. As Toka has said, and others have indicated, it is like taking an imaginary trip eastward around the globe and arriving home, only to find that the 7th day is still Saturday.

    Una, this is what the Samatau church has essentially done. Along with certain others, they have made the adjustment, and are maintaining their public testimony for the Sabbath by joining their New Zealand brothers and sisters in their Sabbath observance.

    On the other hand, those following the lead of the mission administration, by insisting on maintaining an unbroken local weekly cycle, have in my analogy, "hit the International Dateline like a speed bump at 55 mph, and lost the Sabbath out the back of their truck." Sunday observance is the highly unfortunate result.

  51. 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.

  52. 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?

  53. 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

    • 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,

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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.

    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)

    • 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.

  57. 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.

    • 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

      • 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.

  58. 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 ?

    • @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.)

      • 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

  59. 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?

  60. 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.

    • 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"?

  61. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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?

  62. 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.

    • 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.

  63. 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.


  64. 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.


  65. 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?

    • 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.

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

    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.

    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)

    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.

    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.

    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.

  67. 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?

  68. 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. 🙂

    • 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.

  69. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  70. 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

    • 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.

  71. 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

    • 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.

  72. >>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.

  73. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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).

        • 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.

  74. 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.

  75. 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.

  76. 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.

  77. 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

  78. 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.

  79. 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

    • 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

      • 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

        • 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. 🙂

  80. 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.

    • 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.

  81. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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

  82. 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."

  83. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.


  84. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

  85. 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.

  86. 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

    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

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

      • 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.

      • 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?

  87. 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.

    • 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

      • 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.

        • 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.

    • 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 . . .

      • 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.

        • 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?

  88. 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”

    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.

    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

    • 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.

      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]

      • 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.

        • 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

      • 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?

        • 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!

    • 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)

      • 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

        • 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.

        • 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

        • 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]

      • 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?

        • 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!

  89. 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]

  90. 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.

  91. 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?

  92. 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?

  93. 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

  94. 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.

    • 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.

  95. 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.


    • 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

      • 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.



        • 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!

  96. 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.

  97. 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.

  98. 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.

  99. 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...

  100. 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.

  101. I sincerely hope that difference can be resolved, but in case it is not, I strongly don't want to see any "disfellowshipping" like the SDARM fiasco that started in Germany. May I suggest a back-up solution of dual missions, like black conferences in the U.S. which share overlapping geographic area as "white" conferences. It can be a solution so anyone could follow their conscience and where unity remains outside of this issue.

  102. There are continued references to the original Creation Week series of seven days as it relates to Samoa. All scriptural references to Sabbath or the 7th day where we can place the location are based around what is now Israel, Palestine or Egypt.
    We do not know how the original Creation week relates to post flood week except for a reference to manna not falling on that day pre-Sinai.

    History does indicate that the Jews have kept a standard 7 day week cycle ever since the Babylonian captivity. That cycle of days was accepted by Jesus as he worshiped on the 7th day “as His custom was.” That implies that we must accept that God agreed that their 7th day of the 1st century was the “correct” one. Other than that, we have no knowledge of how it relates to the original week of Creation. But, believing that God does not change lends credibility to an unchanged cycle of 7 day weeks from Creation to the time of Christ.

    Our problem is that the 7 day cycle of Sunday through Saturday did not come into common usage until early in the fourth century A.D. That is the same time-frame in which the Catholic church claims to have the authority to change the day of worship from the 7th day to Sunday.

    However, there is a large body of evidence that the 7 day cycle we call Sunday through Saturday is in sync (as practiced in Israel and Egypt) with the Jewish cycle of the 7-day week of Christ’s time. That is, the day we call Saturday (in Israel/Palestine) is the same day the Jews identify as the 7th day Sabbath.

    Returning to Genesis we find that the first sunset would have happened at the end of the 4th day and heralding in the 5th day (since days are “evening and morning”). Therefore, it is the sunset of the 6th day that is of most interest to this discussion since that would have heralded in the 7th day.

    But that is in Israel/Palestine. How to we translate this to what happens in Samoa? I know of two ways and it boils down to a simple decision – but I don’t know the correct answer and see nothing in scripture to use as a guide. Sunset in Samoa either happens before or after sunset in Palestine. I don’t know when during that 4th day of creation week that the sun and moon came into existence. Nor do I know what part of the sky they would occupy when created.

    Does anybody else have evidence to indicate whether the first sunset in Samoa happened before or after the first sunset in Israel/Palestine?

    If the first sunset happened before, that would correspond to Sabbath (7th day) corresponding to Saturday as practiced to the east side of what we currently call the IDL. This is the same day called Friday to the west of the IDL (the “American” side).

    If the first sunset happened after, that would correspond to Sabbath (7th day) corresponding to Saturday as practiced to the west of what we currently call the IDL This would be the same day called Sunday to those east of the IDL.

    I just check the local sunset time and GMT offset for Jerusalem, New Zealand, Samoa, and my location (near Seattle, WA, USA).

    Jerusalem – sunset 5:23 PM local Time Zone: GMT+2

    Seattle – sunset 5:22 PM local Time Zone: GMT-8 (or 10 hours behind Jerusalem or 14 hrs ahead!)

    Apia Samoa – sunset 7:59 PM local Time Zone: GMT+14 (12 hours ahead of or 12 hrs behind Jerusalem)

    Auckland, New Zealand – sunset 8:22 PM local GMT+13 (11 hours ahead of or 13 hrs behind Jerusalem

    Is Samoa 12 hrs ahead of or 12 hrs behind Jerusalem for the first sunset of the 4th day of Creation week?

  103. Well, I forgot to adjust for the actual sunset times and used only the GMT offsets. Probably not that critical as sunset here in Seattle varies by several hours. Earliest if 4:18 pm and latest is 9:11 PM.

    The main question is whether the first sunset happened in Samoa before or after the sunset in Jersusalem. [Which according to Revelation will be God's throne in the new earth.]

  104. The Sabbath, according to Scripture, is the day between Friday and Sunday (Luke 23:52-24:1)

    The Samoan Mission leadership decision to keep Sunday and the Division recommendations in favour of that are both based on the false premise that there has been a calendar change in Samoa resulting in the renaming of the days of the week. This is not true. The nation will use the same calendar as it did before. The change is in their relationship to the dateline. People are ignoring the fact that each day is observed around the globe covering a period of 48 hours. From the time the Adventists in New Zealand open the Sabbath till the time the Adventists in Tahiti close it, the earth has been through almost two complete rotations. All that Samoa has done is to move their time reckoning from the last to the first part of the 48 hours, which requires the so-called "skipping a day." This is no different to what travellers do when they cross the dateline.

    The leaders' decision is a double standard. These same leaders do not observe the so-called "original seven day time sequence" when they fly across the dateline to another country but they expect the Samoan Adventist Church to do it when their government moves the whole country to the other side of the dateline. It has made a mockery of our beliefs and it reflects on the whole church. The implications are very wide ranging: Does this mean the rest of the nations in the Eastern hemisphere are out of sync and should now keep Sunday? Can the same day have two different names? On whose authority? Should a person studying with a Samoan or Tongan person in Australia or New Zealand recommend that they keep Sunday? Is Samoa the place to move to when Sunday laws are introduced in America? How will our evangelists in Samoa preach about the mark of the beast? Will Samoan SDAs follow a different day sequence to the rest of Samoa when they do business, fill out forms, record their births and celebrate their birthdays, etc? Of course they won't. So they have only made themselves look foolish in the eyes of the world by carrying on life as usual for the rest of the week, but calling Sunday the Sabbath, while the rest of the nation call it Sunday. Sunday keepers are not now keeping the Sabbath; Adventists are now keeping Sunday. Incredible!

    How disappointing that the wider church was not invited into the dateline discussion that leaders have been having over the past few years. Did they think the lay people have no good ideas or did they think it was a Samoan problem? This may be a result of so-called "multi-culturalism" which is dividing the church into racial groups.

    The Sabbath School lessons for the first quarter, 2012, are very timely.

    • When in Rome do as the Romans do...."This advice allegedly was Saint Ambrose's answer to Saint Augustine when asked whether they should fast on Saturday as Romans did, or not, as in Milan. " wikipedia.

      As such when I was in Europe was told this was the Bishop of Milan who kept the Sabbath when Rome Bishop kept the Sunday. So when went to Rome , did as Romans do...

      So what do we as God fearing do? Well the Jews must know the right day and keep the Sabbath every Saturday. Now if we keep close to them is that right? Yet there were times when they lost their way and did not keep anything. Drought and all in Egypt as slaves. Yet we know we have a great God.

      Fast and pray and God will show us the solution to this problem. Certainly any move to worship on a "Sunday" brings in the mark of the beast issue. To say keeping a Sunday is God's day...nah just don't believe that excuse.

  105. Dear Steve,

    Thank you for your input. You have pointed out that the time difference between Apia and Jerusalem is 12 hours. I’ve checked on this information, and found it to be true but incomplete. Apia and Jerusalem are actually only 11 time zones apart. The 12-hour time difference is due to the fact that Apia is on daylight saving time, which does not affect the actual setting of the sun. Thus, Apia’s current sunset-Friday-to-sunset-Saturday Sabbath has more hours in common with Jerusalem’s Sabbath than does Apia's current Sunday “Sabbath.”

    I believe that the teachings of Jesus have the answer to this whole question. As an illustration of how we should observe the Sabbath, He used the example of David and his men unlawfully, but correctly, eating the showbread.

    Jesus’ disciples had been harvesting, threshing, and winnowing grain in their hands, in order to satisfy their hunger. According to the scribes, if that wasn’t work, what is? True, it wasn’t much work. Would a violation of the Sabbath commandment be O.K. just because it was a small one? Jesus pointed out that “the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” In other words, when it comes to Sabbath keeping, human necessity trumps technical correctness. The disciples had not violated the true intent of the law, and the Pharisees had condemned the guiltless.

    I see nothing in these teachings of Jesus to flatter human pride. In any given society, is it not a necessity that Seventh-day Adventist Christians observe Saturday (the generally accepted 7th day of the week) rather than Sunday (the generally accepted 1st day)?

    So, if we are going to listen to Jesus, I have concluded that we must conform our Sabbath observance to the weekly cycle recognised by our local government and society, within reason. Someone has privately suggested that I may need to explain more clearly what I mean by “within reason.”

    In Syria, for instance, no change in the weekly cycle would be within reason. So near the true Orient, where man and the Sabbath were created, only one day could be traced back to the Sabbath of creation in an unbroken weekly cycle.

    Not so in British Columbia, where I live. Here we can trace our weekly cycle back to creation in either of two ways, depending on our choice of orientation. Do we look eastward, following the European week, or westward, following the Asian week? Either choice would seem to be within reason. The British Columbia government could put us on the Asian week tomorrow, turning our current Friday into Saturday, and my conscience would require adjusting my personal Sabbath observance with a one-time 6-day week ("which is not lawful" -- Mark 2:26), because it is imperative that my fellow British Columbians see me keeping Sabbath on what they regard as the 7th day of the week, not on what they call Sunday. After all, the Sabbath was made for their benefit, too! I believe that Samoa's Sabbath Keepers are following the true intent of the Sabbath commandment.

    • Hi Mr. White,

      I have recently been having discussions with a face book friend in America about whether Christians should have guns. To me, I could never imagine Jesus owning a gun. Yet in America the gun lobby is so strong that even Christians believe they need them. In truth, death has no sting because when we are in Christ and are killed the next thing we will see is Christ returning, and to own a gun and actually kill some one (even in self defence) would be a big hurdle for our eternal marriage to Jesus Christ.

      Then a few months ago a mate of mine was telling me that it is okay to watch porn and have an affair because King Solomon had 700 wives, not to mention the concubines. He felt that as long as he had his faith in God it didn't matter.

      Our God is an amazing God, and when we live our lives in human nature and understanding we cherish our favourite sins and the sins of the community that we live in. Satan knows that he can't get most christians to leave the light and live in the dark, so he is quite happy to create situations where we live in the grey -- where in living our lives, our actions can't be seen as salvation destroying, yet they place us in situations not out of reach of the adversary. How do you stand for Christ when there is no difference between you and the world?

      [MODERATOR Note: Replies to this comment should address the Samoan problem as Lance does in discussing the gray areas between right and wrong with respect to the main issues raised under this topic, not the issues of gun ownership or sexual sins.]

      • Dear Lance,

        I hear you. I've been thinking similar thoughts lately, myself. We certainly know that professing Sabbath keepers are to be tested, but we may not know just how things are going to play out. It appears most of us know that, if we were to leave Adventism to join a Sunday keeping church, that would be tantamount to apostasy. So, it seems that Sunday keeping has come to us instead.

        Of course, we have no interest in judging the sincerity or Christian experience of anyone. However, we certainly do know our own duty in this matter. Who would ever have thought it would come to this? One comment on this post actually suggested that, since God is in control of His church, we had better not differ with its official course of action. I had heard of the "infallible" church before, but this was never a part of Seventh-day Adventist doctrine!

        I believe that those who wish to follow a particular course of action will be furnished with plausible excuses to do so. God knows those who are His, and no one can snatch them out of His hand. Those who are honestly deceived by the enemy of souls will have opportunity to see the light. Those who are maligned will be kept under the shadow of His wing.

        As for grey areas, I don't think it's as hard to determine the true Sabbath day as some would have us believe.

        By the way, is Noeline a relative of yours?

        • Hi Mr. White,
          Yes Noeline is my mum, and she was living with us over here in paradise, but sadly she could not handle us going against the change of date decision. The church is everything to her, so I can understand that!

  106. Could someone please send me a photograph or give me a link to pictures of the old calendar and the new calendar so I can compare them?

  107. Dear RG,
    Your comments regarding Christ’s statement in Matthew 12 are interesting given this week’s SS Lessons. The conclusion reached is the same I reached via a different route. We can’t know whether Samoan sunsets precede or follow the sunset in Jerusalem. Therefore either one should satisfy the demands of the fourth commandment.

    But, having half the members following the 7th day that precedes Jerusalem and the other half following the 7th day that follows is a recipe for disharmony. We must dig deeper into the scriptures (as you have done).

    I found that scripture holds that all the commandments are summed up into two --“Love to God and Love to Fellow Man.” [Luke 10:26-28] Paul goes even further and claims the whole law is all about Love [Romans 13:10]. He also indicates that doing something for the right reason isn’t enough if it causes a fellow member to stumble [Romans 14:13]. Peter also indicates that interpretation of scripture is not a private/personal matter [2 Peter 1:20].
    Finally, Paul indicates that wherever possible we should obey the local authorities [Titus 3:1] and Peter agrees [1 Peter 2:13]. So long as their authority doesn’t force disobedience to God.

    To my mind, the Samoan government didn’t change the weekly cycle nor did they change the names of the days in the week. They simply decided to be the start of the day (begin it for the entire globe) rather than the end of the day (end it for the entire globe).

    Yes, the Sabbath was made to meet the needs of man. Man was not made to meet the needs of the Sabbath.

    • Does the sun rise in Samoa at the same time it rises in New Zealand?

      Are New Zealand and Australia worshiping within the creation week cycle?

      Why was Samoa 24 hrs. away from New Zealand?
      Because an extra Monday was added in 1892

      Wouldn't adding a Monday in 1892 put Samoa outside the 7 day creation cycle?

      Why do a majority of Samoans believe that by keeping the Sabbath on Sunday they are staying with the 7 day creation cycle?
      Because a task force of learned scholars told them so

      Didn't they tell them about the extra day added at the instigation of the dateline?

      If a day was added, wouldn't a day subtracted in Dec. 2011 put Samoa back in line with the 7 day creation week?

      Why did the church stick with worshiping on Saturday in 1892?
      Maybe because the church was in its infancy back then

      Was the Samoan church in error for the last 120 years?

      Being aware now of this error, what should be done????

    • Dear Brethren,

      I am a 1st generation New Zealand born Samoan and through the SSNET website, I came across the ‘The Samoan Sabbath Dilemma’. I have family living in Samoa whose lives are impacted by this situation, not to mention those of us outside of Samoa, trying to make sense of living in Samoa, practising Seventh Day Adventism but worshipping on Sunday, and the wider implications of this situation.

      The International Dateline in the context of ‘The Samoan Sabbath Dilemma’.

      I have closely followed the subject and sought to understand the ‘The Samoan Sabbath Dilemma’ caused by the Samoan Government decision on the 30 December 2011, to align Samoa time-zone west of the IDL, whereas prior to the change, it was east of the IDL since 4 July 1892. However, it is very important to note that before this period, Samoa original time-zone was west of the IDL. So, I completed some online research to learn about the IDL and also to understand the reason for Samoa decision to change the time-zone in July 1892 and then again in December 2011.

      International Date Line - Definition (source Wikipedia).

      An imaginary line on the Earth's surface that is internationally agreed upon as the place where each new calendar day begins. The line extends from the North to the South Pole through the Pacific Ocean, roughly along the 180th meridian. The calendar day to the east of the line is one day earlier than it is to the west of the line. The International Date Line was established at the International Meridian Conference in 1884 in order to standardize time, especially for the purpose of travel.

      A traveler crossing the International Date Line eastbound subtracts one day, or 24 hours, so that the calendar date to the west of the line is repeated. Crossing the IDL westbound results in 24 hours being added, advancing the calendar date by one day. The International Date Line is necessary in order to have a fixed, albeit arbitrary, boundary on the globe where the calendar date advances in the westbound direction.

      Samoa International Date Line Changed in 1892 – Samoa and American Samoa aligned with California (source Wikipedia).

      The Samoan Islands today divided into Samoa and American Samoa —were west of the date line until 1892, when King Malietoa Laupepa was persuaded by American traders to adopt the American date, being three hours behind California, to replace the former Asian date, being four hours ahead of Japan. The change was made by repeating Monday 4 July 1892, American Independence, (therefore an 8day week, to align the time-zone east of the IDL).

      Samoa International Date Line Changed Back in 2011 – Samoa and American Samoa Separated again (source Wikipedia).

      In 2011, more than 119 years after that change was made, Samoa shifted back to west of the date line by skipping Friday 30 December 2011, (therefore a 6day week, to align the time-zone west of the IDL). The International Date Line now passes between Samoa and American Samoa, with American Samoa remaining aligned with the American date.

      Samoa Government Reason for the Change of the Date Line, (source Wikipedia).

      Samoa made the change because Australia and New Zealand have become its biggest trading partners, and also have large communities of expatriates. Being 21 hours behind made business difficult because having weekends on different days meant only four days of the week were shared.

      My Conclusion.

      Based on these facts, I have come to the conclusion that before the decision to change Samoa time-zone on July 1892, from west to east of the IDL, adhering to the 7day cycle principle, the Sabbath fell on Saturday. If, I accept the logic of the 7day cycle and remain consistent to its application east of the IDL, this would have resulted with Friday being the 7th day and therefore the Sabbath Day. However we know this was not the case, because Sabbath worship from July 1892 until 30 December 2011, was on Saturday. I cannot confirm when the Seventh Day Adventist movement started in Samoa but assuming it was active from 1892, they would have had to accept a one-time 8day week to align Sabbath worship with Saturday. To remain consistent with the 7day cycle principle after the 30 December 2011 time-zone change west of the IDL, would require a one-time 6day week to align Sabbath worship with Saturday; please bear in mind that this was Samoa original time-zone before King Malietoa Laupepa decision to change it.

      I accept the Scriptures as my guide, 2 Timothy 3:16, and so as a Seventh Day Adventist, the Sabbath Day is central to my relationship with God. It is also a material difference that sets me apart from Christians and non-believers that do not accept His instruction and purpose for the Sabbath, and to those who choose to worship on the Sunday. Therefore, I believe my worshipping on the Sabbath, the 7th Day (and according to the IDL), is Saturday. It is a powerful witness to those that have yet to come to know Him and within the context of the 7day week as we know it today, Sunday - Saturday and wherever we live according to the IDL, the Sabbath has always been on the 7th day of the week, Saturday, (the only exception I am aware of is Tonga).

      Unless you do not accept the principle of the International Dateline, a Samoan Seventh Day Adventist travelling abroad, using their prevailing 7day cycle as the reference point, their Sabbath observance would fall on any day of the week depending on which country they are in, to be consistent with this principle. Conversely, any Seventh Day Adventist foreigner visiting Samoa that accepts the principle of the International Dateline, would not worship on Saturday with other Samoan Seventh Day Adventists, because it is not recognised by the Samoa Seventh Day Adventist Conference as the Sabbath Day.

      Given that the IDL was established in 1884 as the global benchmark for the calendar and time for each country in the western and eastern hemisphere, it does call into question the validity of the Samoa Seventh Day Adventist Conference decision to apply quite correctly a 7day cycle, but that which is not aligned to the IDL, which is contradictory and undermines the fundamental of the order of day and time that the IDL was designed to accomplish globally.

      Finally, my understanding of the Samoa Government reason for making the time-zone change, Samoa predominant trading partners and related commercial activity is west of the IDL, Australia and New Zealand, therefore it is a logical commercial decision to promote the country where it will receive the most economic benefit. I do not believe it is a cynical attempt to undermine 7th Day Sabbath worship.

      I trust my understanding based on the aforementioned facts will help clarify your thoughts about the situation, as it has done for me personally. Praise God for His Everlasting Love and Mercy. May the Holy Spirit continue to agitate within us and may His will prevail resolving The Samoan Sabbath Dilemma.

      • The Bible teaches us that the civil government is set up by God for good purposes; however, some of the more unwise roads people have taken from our eschatology has led some people in the church to be paranoid about government actions; and to interpret every government action in a spirit of anticipation of a Sunday Law.

        So even though I concur with your benign conclusion about the government's motives; some people won't see it that way.

        Sadly, conspiratorial thinking seems to me to be getting too much of a foothold in our church today; and is being fed (erroneously) by its seeming dovetail with Daniel and Revelation. These are serious issues.

  108. L Manu O'Uiha,
    I am in New Zealand but believe me, we share the pain our Samoan brethren feel. There is some Scripture many seem to be ignoring - Luke 23:52-24:1 where the time for Sabbath is most clearly defined in Scripture as the day between Friday (Preparation) and Sunday (First day/Resurrection Day). Your Sabbath School lesson and your calendar clearly say that this Sunday is Feb 19, yet you will observe it as Sabbath, Feb 18. How will you record this in historical documents?
    Could someone please let us know what the non-Adventists in Samoa are saying about all of this?

  109. RG. Remember that it took a decade for the church to resolve the sunset versus 6 pm issue. Even EGW was in the 6 pm camp for a long period of time (while serving as a prophet). It was not until Andrews published a research paper that EGW changed positions on the subject.

    To expect a quick resolution on the IDL issue will lead to frustration for some and may be a stumbling block for others. I see how each reached their decision. While I disagree with their conclusions I understand their convictions and must respect them for their position. The Lord let the SDA church wrestle with Friday sundown versus 6 pm for many years.

    I do appreciate Ian's first-hand comments and research. It is presented very thoughtfully and thoroughly.

    On a side note -- this morning the sunrise happened @ 7:16 AM (PST) in Seattle. If I'm doing my conversion correctly that would make it 3:16 PM UTC on Wednesday 2/15/2012. At that time it was 4:16 AM in Auckland, NZ. But their date was already Thursday 2/16/2012. That same sun rose for them just 2 hrs and 36 minutes later.

    It is now noon in Seattle on Wednesday the 15th. I'm looking at the same sun that the folks in NZ are seeing but for them it is 9 AM on Thursday the 16th. This is a "benefit" of living on a round planet.

    In just over 3 weeks I'll travel to the Philippines and will experience a 6 day week followed 2 weeks later by an 8 day week. This is so I can worship with my brethern in Pagudpud, Philippines for those two Sabbaths. It is now 4 AM on Thursday the 16th and the sun will rise for them in 2 hours and 21 minutes from when this was written.

    • Good Morning Steve,

      I am sitting here in Malaysia and reading your side note comments and they illustrate the point of the effect the IDL has on the fundemental order of day and time in different time-zones according to whether one is either located in the western or eastern time-zone. I travel frequently on business across the IDL and as you mention, you will soon experience, an adjustment of 6 day week travelling from east (USA) to west (Philippines) of the IDL and then when you return home 2 weeks later, make another adjustment of an 8day week, why, to get into sync with the prevailing 7day cycle in that hemisphere. The other important to note here is, the 7day cycle remains unbroken, the adjustment is the time-zone according to the IDL, to whichever side you are on.

      Upholding the guidance of the Scripture, I do not believe any one of the contributors to this subject are disagreeing with God's commandment regarding the Sabbath Day, the 7th day cycle and that the Sabbath is recorded in His word between Friday and Sunday. So we know, the Sabbath is God's sacred day of rest, it was on the 7th day and it is Saturday, as we know it to be called today. We also know that the world is round and therefore depending wherever you find yourself in the world, if it is sunrise where you are, it is going to be sunset at the opposite side of the world. Herein lies the function of the IDL that provides the fundemental order of day and time and the impact it has on our global calendar and time.

      When I consider this in the context of keeping the Sabbath Day as I understand the Lord God has instructed me through scripture, it does provide me with a peace and joy that my God is a God of Order and Purpose. This is the reason why I believe the IDL and 7day cycle are linked as it provides logical order to Sabbath keeping whether I am located west or east of the IDL and as it relates to the global time-zone. To isolate a time-zone from the rest of the world results with the situation now experienced by the Samoa Seventh Day Adventists that live west of the IDL but choose to remain on east of the IDL and worship on Sunday, when in fact is should be Saturday.

      I pray the Lord continues to agitate within us to seek His Light and His will prevail. God Bless.

      • Although we have been offered the Gov't prayer house for another few weeks, the Lighthouse group have decided to move to home base. This Saturday we will be worshiping at Moanamo Okasene's house in Vailima, the big new house oppisite Norman Paul's house. If you reach the 3 Sisters Catholic Church you have gone to far.

        Next week we move to Tulaele Rd., Vailoa Faleata. Look for the blue marquee inside the big rock wall in behind Westend Motors.

        Everyone is welcome. Just bring a plate as we have combined lunch every week. If you wish, come for the day and spend Bible studies at 2 pm after lunch and stay for closing Sabbath from 6:30.

        We have plenty of spaces to have a nap when the sun gets too hot, come as you are and share Sabbath blessings with us!
        If anyone requires a ride up the hill, this Sabbath, contact Merita at 7598629.

  110. Kiaora All,

    Talofa, Ian Letele or (shall I say?) Big Chief Leiataua of Samoa, thanks for your easy to understand research & it will be very helpful for our Samoan folks in Samoa & abroad as a lot of our people are confused.

    Brother Lance Cutts, we pray for you & the team at the Lighthouse faamalosi. I have a suggestion. Why not request the Samoa Mission to make the Youth Hall available for your meetings on Sabbath? After all, your offerings & tithes are still going to the Samoa Mission, & besides, the facilities belong to the people (members) and you are Seventh - Day Adventists, whereas the SM is First Day Adventists.

  111. Talofa Lance n Merita,
    It's been great knowing that you are still standing firm in regards to our Creator's 7th day Sabbath. We are with you all and praying for God's interceding Power to break thru' and reveal His Mighty ways to your faithful group. Don't give up, Jesus is coming soon!
    I agree with Bro. Tesese's suggestion, if Samoa Mission won't let you use the hall then there's a lot of Sunday Churches that will let you use theirs on Sabbath for a love offering...and it's a good way to reach out.

  112. I have really appreciated reading through the various posts to this discussion as we have for a long time been on a journey as a denomination to grow in our understanding of Sabbath.

    Personally, to have experienced the gradual transition from Sabbath being a rigid letter-of-the-law matter to one of responding to the incredible grace and mercy of God with "How can I best respond, Lord, in a way that is meaningful to You?" has been a life-changing blessing.

    The Sabbath, as I have been coming to understand it, is more about engaging honestly and vulnerably with God on His terms. In approaching the question faced by our precious Samoan brothers and sisters, it seems that key issues revolve around what best honours God.

    Choices that result in a clearer, worldwide recognition of the "Saturday" Sabbath (sunset to sunset of course) would reflect God's Unity of purpose more than a letter-of-the-law response.

    The whole issue of keeping Sabbath on a round world has challenged us for a long time. For example, those who live closest to the North and South poles, face the challenge of 6 mths of twilight and 6 mths of daylight, and have to define Sabbath by their clocks rather than by a visible sunset. Yet their honouring of God is the best option thanks to the possibility of flexibility. If they were to be bound by Sabbath being each 7 sunsets, it would be a very different outcome.

    I know this is very different to what is being faced in Samoa, however, the challenge to be adaptable so that the best outcomes can be reached is similar.

    I hope that pride will not get in the way of a resolution that will have to involve a recognition of a mistake having been made - "Sorry, we made an ill-informed choice. Let's make the change that will be for the better outcome for all concerned, including God."

    May the Lord give those involved the necessary courage...

  113. I've been concerned about how the Samoa issue has been handled ever since I saw the article in The Record. I have to agree with Brian Holland and John Wallace on this issue - it is not a renaming of days, it's to do with which side of the IDL the country is considered to be on. Whenever anybody ever crosses the IDL, they worship on the Sabbath according to what is considered to be the 7th day according to the local government. People are regularly experiencing 6 day or 8 day weeks whenever they cross over the line. What date are Samoans calling today? - Currently it's about 5:50 Sabbath afternoon Feb 18 in Qld Australia - yet in California it would still be Fri evening 17 Feb. Are they calling it Feb 17 or 18 in Samoa? If Adventists are calling it Feb 18 as per government regulations - then it's currently late Sabbath afternoon there (or if the sun has already set, then the Sabbath has passed). What date do they use for baby's births and all sorts of other regular work-related records. Obviously the actual date they have to use is the recognised date the government has declared. Saying that tomorrow is 19 Feb yet at the same time calling it Sabbath only would make them a laughing-stock. It's just a subtle way of bringing Sunday-keeping into the church

    • We are taught as SDAs to "obey God whether or not it makes sense". In fact, we anticipate a time when we will have to do things contrary to accepted practice or even established law.

      This is why it is difficult for your practical line of reasoning to work among many SDAs--they see this as either a "test" or an opportunity to "obey or die".

      You can see somewhat where this kind of thinking goes if you look at some of the more extreme/fastidious practices of modern-day Ultra-Orthodox Jews; which are revered regardless of how incongruous or inconvenient they make everyday life to be.

      • Dear Andrew,

        I fully believe that the Sabbath is to be a test in the end times, and that governments will pass and enforce laws to coerce us to violate it. But just how are we to prepare for what lies ahead? Don't we need to develop a strong faith in God and a close connection with Jesus, while rooting and grounding ourselves in a correct knowledge of the Scriptures?

        I'm afraid that too many of us may have been trying to take a short-cut. We've heard or read the prophecies, and we have concluded that the SDA Church will always be right, and that government will always try to push us into a course of action that will incur God's displeasure. Perhaps it's as if, by knowing the answers in advance, we hope that we are going to be able to "cheat" on the test. So, then what happens if God decides to change the test questions just a little bit? What if the government happens to be harmless, in a particular instance, and the church wrong?

        With the pure You will show Yourself pure;
        And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.

        Psalm 18:26 (NKJV)

        • Well, we have always tended to define "truth" as "facts" and that is why we are always seemingly preparing for a test.

          The Sabbath has to mean more than just a "test of allegiance"--otherwise it's always going to be about us (and how faithful we are) and not about the God of creation and His beautiful character.

          When we fully understand and become jealous for God's character and reputation; and fully see its expression in the Sabbath (and the Sabbath day itself); then we will be able to recognize real threats to the Sabbath day.

  114. As a former resident of Samoa, although many years ago (I even did my last two years of High School at Samoa College), I have to concur with the Sabbath Keepers. First of all, Saturday did not exist in Samoa until the 19th Century and then it was the same day as it is today. Then in 1892, American merchants persuaded the the Samoan government to move Samoa to the other side of the dateline to make things more convenient for those whose main trade link was with San Francisco. The new change has only restored Samoan date keeping to the previous case.

    I believe Samoan Adventists should still keep Saturday for all the reasons alluded to in the preceding arguments, particularly the Biblical ones, but if that is not enough, then surely following the same day as originally established as the Sabbath in Samoa is another good reason. I, personally, when I am next in Samoa (sometime soon, I hope) will be keeping Saturday as the Sabbath.

  115. I should also mention that when I lived in Samoa, I regularly travelled back and forth to New Zealand, crossing the International Date Line as it then was. Whichever place I was in I kept the local Saturday as the Sabbath and still consider that to be the sensible (and Biblical) thing to do.

  116. Some Jewish thoughts.

    "Rabbi Yechiel Michel Tucazinsky says that the date line runs 180° east of Jerusalem. He explains that because Jerusalem is considered the center of the land given to the Jewish people, it is also considered the center of the world according to Jewish law. Therefore, the date line would be located exactly 180° opposite Jerusalem, which would also enable every Jew in the world to observe at least 12 hours of the Sabbath together with those who live in Jerusalem." (Sefer Hayomam B’Kadur Ha’aretz, ch. 23.)

    In other words -- the line 0' passing through Greenwich, this rabbi places as passing 35' earlier, through Jerusalem.

    180 degrees either way from Jerusalem would place the "Biblical" ???? IDL in Alaska at about 145'W. Islands like Hawaii and of course Samoan would all be on the western side of IDL in harmony with the lands east of Jerusalem-- (like Australia)

    So if this is a "Biblical" based explanation (well at least based on the Biblical Land) then the present (new) Saturday in Samoan is the true Sabbath.

    And we can also take into consideration that the New Jerusalem will descend where the present Jerusalem is now situated, so it could well be the "center point" in God's reckoning.

  117. I spent quite some time reading through pages of comments on this thread. While I can understand the confusion concerning the IDL situation for the people, and found some excellent information being presented, there was something that was mentioned that greatly concerns me.

    It appears the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ind. Samoa is using a little too heavy a hand in enforcing Sunday worship on its members?

    Correct me if I'm wrong.
    I realize there are many who have accepted the decision as right and willingly accept and support it, yet there there seems to be a degree of force being used to get the people to worship on Sunday.

    For example --

    1. It was stated that a one sided presentation was made to the churches explaining the decision to embrace Sunday as the day of worship based mainly on a supposition that Sunday in Samoa actually dates back to creation’s 7th day, while "shelving" information that may have led to a different decision.

    2. Pastors felt pressured to accept the decision or possibly lose their jobs. That a number of them are not comfortable with the decision.

    3. People who wanted to worship on the 7th day (Saturday) as recognized by NZ and Aust. and now Samoa, have been denied the use of Seventh-day Adventist church facilities.

    4. People opposed to worship on Sunday fear disfellowship?

    This sounds like coercion which greatly disturbs me.

    • Ulrike you had been misinformed about the situation in Samoa if these are the information you got. You were poorly advised. None of the 4 things you mentioned were happening in the island as i am in Samoa and witnessed everything. You need not to be poisoned by a few members who opposed the decision of the main church. Rely on God and his leading Hand not from few individual opinions. God Bless.
      [Editorial Comment: If "Boss" wishes to have credibility on this blog, this commenter will provide his real name, as requested by the moderators and as other Samoans posting here have done.]

      • Hi Boss,

        Are those worshiping on Saturday, outside Samatau, allowed to use church buildings for their worship?

        Are all pastors for Sunday worship?

        Was the report, that we still are not allowed to mention on here, shelved by the mission executive?

        Please explain about the rumours that Sabbath keepers will be disfellowshiped, if they don't keep Sunday, after a 6-month period. The executive met on Feb. 11th to decide our fate, and as yet only rumours abound.

        It would be great to know your real name, and if an error has been detailed on this board, please answer it -- or explain why the "7-day creation cycle" is still embraced, when it is obviously error. God bless in your stand.

        I just hope pride does not keep error in place of what is right! The Sabbath and our end-time message are under threat because of present circumstances.

        It is amazing how easy it was for the devil to get God's church to embrace Sunday worship!

        • "Love is power.

          "Intellectual and moral strength are involved in this principle and cannot be separated from it. The power of wealth has the tendency to corrupt and destroy, the power of force is strong to do hurt, but the excellence and value of pure love consist in its efficiency to do good and to do nothing else than good.

          "Whatsoever is done out of pure love (be it ever so little or contemptible in the sight of men) is wholly fruitful, for God regards more with how much love one worketh than the amount he doeth.

          "Love is of God.

          "The unconverted heart cannot originate nor produce this plant of heavenly growth, which lives and flourishes only where Christ reigns.

          "Love cannot live without action and every act increases, strengthens and extends it. Love will gain the victory when argument and authority are powerless.

          "Love works not for profit nor reward; yet God has ordained that great gain shall be the certain result of every labor of love.

          "It is diffusive in its nature and quiet in its operation, yet strong and mighty in its purpose to overcome great evils. It is melting and transforming in its influence and will take hold of the lives of the sinful and affect their hearts when every other means has proved unsuccessful." (Testimonies to the Church, Vol II, p. 135)

        • Funny (or should I say ironic)--as the Sabbath is about God's character; which is not coercive.

  118. Talofa all,

    I'm based in Auckland, but very up to date with developments in Samoa & travel to Samoa often each year on business & family matters.

    All 4 things are true.
    I affirm Lance Cutts & his team at the Lighthouse.

    I wouldn't take any notice of Boss as he doesn't have a name.

    The only reason why Samatau church has a special arrangement is because the (Sa'o) Big Chief of the Puni family who own the land where the church is located has given the freedom for members to choose.

    All Adventist churches should be available for members to worship in. After all, it's the members who funded the building. ACA, through the local mission, is to act as a caretaker .

  119. What does Ellen G White say about the dateline
    " The Date Line Problem
    Sister T has been speaking of you to me. She says that you are in some confusion in regard to the day line. Now, my dear sister, this talk about the day line is only
    something that Satan has devised as a snare. He seeks to bewitch the senses, as he does in saying, "Lo, here is Christ, or there." There will be every fiction and devising of Satan to lead persons astray, but the word is, "Believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not" (Matthew 24:23-26). {3SM 317.3}
    Seventh-day Sabbath Left in No Uncertainty.-- We have the positive word of God in regard to the Sabbath [Exodus 31:12-18 quoted]. {3SM 318.1}
    Is it possible that so much importance can be clustered about those who observe the Sabbath, and yet no one can tell when the Sabbath comes? Then where is the people who bear the badge or sign of God? What is the sign? The seventh-day Sabbath, which the Lord blessed and sanctified, and pronounced holy, with great penalties for its violation. {3SM 318.2}
    The seventh-day Sabbath is in no uncertainty. It is God's memorial of His work of creation. It is set up as a heaven-given memorial, to be observed as a sign of obedience. God wrote the whole law with His finger on two tables of stone. . . . {3SM 318.3}
    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. But we know where we stand. . . . {3SM 318.4}
    To Stand Fast by Our Colors.--My sister, let not your faith fail. We are to stand fast by our colors, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. All those who hold the beginning of their confidence firm unto the
    end will keep the seventh-day Sabbath, which comes to us as marked by the sun. The fallacy of the day line is a trap of Satan to discourage. I know what I am speaking about. Have faith in God. Shine where you are, as a living stone in God's building. {3SM 318.5}
    The children of God will be triumphant. They will come off conquerors and more than conquerors over all the opposing, persecuting elements. Fear not. By the power of Bible truth and love exemplified in the cross, and set home by the Holy Spirit, we shall have the victory. The whole battle before us hinges upon the observance of the true Sabbath of Jehovah. . . . {3SM 319.1}
    I can write no more now, but I say, Give no ear to heresy. Cling to a plain "Thus saith the Lord." He will comfort and bless you, and will give you joy in your heart. Praise the Lord that we have clear light, and a plain, distinct message to bear.--Letter 118, 1900. {3SM 319.2}

    See also, Review and Herald Feb 16, 1892 Mrs White Travels to Samoa crossing the date line

    Emma Faith Kliewer
    (916) 209-7225 direct line
    (916) 678-1844 text line
    Amazing Facts Bible School
    (916) 434-3880 ext. 5

  120. During January the world Seventh-day Adventist Church observed 4 Sabbaths but the Sunday-Sabbath keepers in Samoa had 5 Sunday-Sabbaths. Sorry guys, you are outside of the world church. The Bible would call this apostasy.

    Does anyone in leadership at Samaoa-Tokelau Mission or South Pacific Division have the courage and humility to say, "We made a mistake?"
    We ought to pray for them.

  121. Letter from SM president 20th Feb 2012 to Samatau Sabbath Keepers.

    Background Information - 3 weeks ago the Samoa Mission called a meeting with all Sabbath Keepers in Samoa (Samatau & The Lighthouse Groups) to meet with the Samoa Executive Committee to present their reasons for keeping the Sabbath and not the Sunday as chosen by the Church in Samoa.

    At the meeting the Samatau Sabbath Keepers (SK) requested for the SDA Samatau minister to also include the Sabbath Keepers families in his visitation and pastoral care.

    Here's the translation of the letter from the President replying to the request. (Original letter is written in Samoan on Samoa Mission letterhead and signed by the President, Uili Solofa).

    [I have bracketed and added background information to assist with the translation.]

    Subject – Regarding the care by the SDA Samatau Pastor of the two Groups [Sabbath and Sunday Worshipers].

    With due respect I write in reply to your request that was given on the night of our meeting.
    The request from the Sabbath Keepers was for the SDA Minister in Samatau to not only care for his Sunday members but to have them [Sabbath Keepers] included in his pastoral care and weekly visitations.

    1 You [SK] will not be excluded from the normal visitation by the minister [SDA Minister] that covers all families in the village as done by all other ministers of other denominations [in the Village].
    [Background Info here – Samatau Village has a programme where all ministers in the village, regardless of denomination, will visit all families in the Village (general visitation).]

    2 The opportunity is still available for the minister [SDA] to visit your families while the matter [regarding your membership] is being discussed and before the Church’s [Executive] reply to the papers you presented [supporting their stand] regarding the church’s decision [to worship on Sunday].

    3 We respectfully advise that the Pastor [SDA] will not be able to worship on both worship days due to the following:
    A. You know very well according to God’s word “No man can serve two gods.”
    B. It is clear, and the church’s decision has already been confirmed on which Sabbath day to worship God.
    The decision will not be contradicted by having the minister attending both worship [days].
    C. It is not special love or favouritism for one side, but for your information, when it comes to things of God, because God is specific in His will, it is not possible for two or three decisions but only one.
    D. That's the reason why the Minister and his wife will only worship on the Sabbath as chosen by the Church in Samoa. [Sunday]

    4 We also wish to remind you regarding the use of the Samatau church.
    Please remember this: The day the church [building] was officially dedicated, the keys were presented to us, for us to accept, as leaders of the church in Samoa
    WHY? It was a sign of the whole church in agreement to present the Church [building] as a property [asset] for God and the Church in Samoa.
    It is important that for every time the church is to be used, you need to contact/request the minister and the Church Executive committee.
    You also need to remember that the pulpit is holy and is not to be used by just anybody whose beliefs differs from the fundamental beliefs of the church.

    The President.

    Here's my view of this letter.

    * A copy of the letter was sent to the Village chiefs of Samatau who are not SDA members. They belong to the AOG etc -it just happened that most of them are our relatives and gave the Samatau SK their copy to read.

    Letter should not have been given to the village. This is an internal matter between the church leaders and the SK members. There was no need for the village council to know about it. It will reflect badly on the president and the church as a whole.

    *Minister visitation of the SK families suggests that once the Samoa Mission (with advice from SPD) disfellowships the SK families, the minister visitations will be terminated.

    *For the President to say "No man can serve two gods" implies that the SK members are worshipping Buddha, Mohammed or some other god.

    *Since the SM President says that no one(SK) can use the pulpit whose beliefs differ from the church's fundamental beliefs, he needs to think again - the Sabbath Keepers are the true remnant group whose beliefs are in agreement with the SDA fundamental beliefs. The President and the Samoa Mission are now Sunday worshipers and are against the fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventists.

    In Australia now, SDA Samoan churches have advised the GC and the SPD that the Samoa Mission President and his ministers from Samoa will no longer be allowed to preach in their pulpits. (After all they are now Sunday worshipers)

    God is working in the hearts of the Samoan SDA members locally and globally. It is only a matter of time before more members will make their stand for God. I won't be surprised if whole churches will turn against the SM's decision and worship on the true Sabbath.

    The support from the SDA family globally is very much appreciated.

    Your prayers and support for the Samoa Sabbath Keepers are needed right now.

    If you would like to be part of the Sabbath Keepers Network mailing list, then contact Edwin Puni email.

  122. Thank you Jenkins for this translation of the President's letter. It highlights the problems which will continue to descend from the bad decision by the Samoas-Tokelau Mission to keep Sunday.

    1. We have SDA ministers in Samoa who has been prohibited from visiting the Saturday keeping SDA congregations. The reason given? Man cannot serve two gods.

    2. We have SDA Samoan congregations in Australia who have prohibited those same SDA ministers in Samoa from coming to preach in their Aussie pulpits! The reason given? The ministers are Sunday keepers.

    I can't even imagine what God is thinking!

    Jesus was so right when He said, "The children of the mammon of unrighteousness are wiser in their day than the children of light." (Luke 16:8)

    Q. What does the Third Commandment command?
    A. The Third Commandment commands us to sanctify Sunday as the Lord's Day.

    (Source: Roman Catholic Catechism)

  123. Thank you, Jenkins. One thing has me thinking... President Solofa does not believe that our ministers can very well serve their congregations at worship on both Saturdays and Sundays, because no man can serve two gods.

    I seem to recall someone also saying that one Man needed to die for the nation...

    This wouldn't be the first time for a church leader to speak the truth in spite of himself, would it?

    • No man can serve the Lord of the Sabbath and the sun god at the same time.

      "Is it possible that so much importance can be clustered about those who observe the Sabbath, and yet no one can tell when the Sabbath comes? Then where is the people who bear the badge or sign of God? What is the sign? The seventh-day Sabbath, which the Lord blessed and sanctified, and pronounced holy, with great penalties for its violation." {3SM 318.2 (Written by Ellen G. White at the time of the dateline change in 1892)}
      "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." (Again advice from Ellen G. White concerning the dateline change in 1892)

      If the church had stuck to the 7 day creation cycle in 1892 they would have worshiped on Friday, but they didn't.They kept the sign of God's remnant people and they worshiped on Saturday, the Sabbath.

      120 years later, and a strong undercurrent of an ungodly domineering spirit runs through the mission and the church. Words from the President are, "Don't blame the mission secretary or the mission treasurer. This is my decision and it is non-negotiable."

      The trouble with domineering behaviour and decisions made in error is that this is against God, and God has HIS people who (though the path may be difficult when against the odds) will stand true to our precious Saviour and will never follow the majority and worship on Sunday.

      The threat of disfellowship constantly keeps getting voiced to us, but here again, you can cut us off from using church buildings, cut us off from pastoral care, but the mission and the church will never be able to cut us off from God. Instead, everything that is thrown at us, and the deceptions that are printed in the Record, will only grow us stronger in HIS everlasting love.

      I often watched Doug Batchelor's Final Events DVDs and I saw the remnant portrayed as a people that the Christian world wanted to destroy. I had my doubts that this could ever happen; I have no doubts anymore!

  124. Lance,

    It's sad for the president to talk like that.

    A lot of times leaders forget they don't have the authority they think they do. But they don't, it's the church members that have the authority.

    They only realise it after the next session when they get voted out.

    I wouldn't worry about getting disfellowshiped. Both SPD & SM will have to answer to God & the Global SDA body if they go ahead with their threat.

    God will make a way.

  125. International Date Line by Nature: ABSOLUTE or RELATIVE?

    It is quite clear that the IDL by nature is relative because Western Samoa has changed it two (1892 and 2011) times already.

    The question that keeps coming to mind is; Does God know where humans (SDA) should change time when travelling around the world? After all, He created this world to be a round world.

    I think most people would say yes.

    Does God then have a way of letting us (SDA) know where to change date/time when travelling around the world?

    It’s a YES for me.

    • EGW in her diary (1891) says it’s between Samoa and NZ, so when it’s Sabbath in NZ, it’s Preparation day in Samoa.
    • Missionaries (SDA) who travelled to the pacific before 1892, upon stopping in Samoa celebrated the Sabbath on Sunday and not on Saturday. See "Samoa and the International Date Line"
    • The 1st residential SDA missionaries to Samoa (post 1892) continue the unbroken 7-day cycle Sabbath on a day which then co-inside with Saturday. This continues up to December 2011.
    • The Samoan SDA leaders, after a lot of prayers, consultation, and continual leading by God’s spirit decided to continue worshipping on the 7th day Sabbath cycle, on a day which now co-inside with Sunday. Ironically, this is the very same day missionaries who travel around the Pacific before 1892, regarded as the 7th day Sabbath in Samoa.

    While Western Samoa keeps on changing the IDL, which directly change the order of the week days (dropping Friday 30th December altogether from history), I support the way Samoan SDA Mission/leaders stay strong and consistence with the Bible, EGW and Spirit-let missionaries of the past years.

    We are living in a changing world, but I admire the way ALL SDA Missions around the IDL handle (Don't change) the 7 day-cycle Sabbath given to us by God thru his human workers/instruments.

    God bless


    From creation to the time of Jesus, its about 4 thousand years, where the Sabbath day can only be trace by the 7-day cycle day1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Adam never worshipped on a Saturday, nor was Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Daniel, Hosea, Isaiah, Jesus, Peter or Paul.

    So why do we need to abandon that winning formula now? To follow a Saturday Sabbath, a day that is name after pagan god.

    God bless.

    • Dear Viliami,

      It is not the name of the day that is in question, but the days relative position to other days of the week. Exodus 31 tells us that the Sabbath is a sign that us and God. Revelation 13 tells us that the devil has a sign that shows who are his. The two signs are supposed to be different.

      Adam, Abraham, Peter and Paul never had the privilege of crossing the globe to the extent that this particular problem was an issue for them.

      God's remnant people worship on a different day from the rest of Christendom -- not by accident or coincidence, but because God's sign is at the opposite end of the week from His enemy's sign.

      The Bible is not clear on what anyone may have chosen or not chosen to call the 7th day of the week where they lived, but it is very clear of how to distinguish which day it is, and how it should never be confused with what other folks would deem "the day of the sun." (Ezekiel 8:16)

      • Dear Andrew,

        The two signs are still different, even when the two days overlap in Samoa.

        Sunday keepers always keep the whole of Sunday. That is, from 12 midnight to 12 midnight.

        7th day Sabbath keepers always keep the biblical day, which is from sunset to sunset. Which translate to a little portion of Saturday and a larger portion of Sunday. So SDA 7th day keepers are wholly faithful to the bible and the BIBLE ONLY for they don’t care what the world call it (Saturday, Sunday or whatever), but those who believe that Saturday and SATURDAY ONLY is the Sabbath, I think are totally faithful to a day dedicated to the pagan god of the planet Saturn, for they lost sight of how the bible recall the days, and are totally immense on how the world call and place it.

        Another problem is, if one is to put their concentration in locating the sign (Sunday) of the enemy, and base on that fact how they determine the Sabbath, by thinking it is the day before (Saturday), then the enemy will only have to move his sign (Sunday) forward or backward and trick us into keeping a wrong day. Using this method may be right most of the time, but not 100 per cent of the time.

        We should be concentrating on the Lord’s Day.

        God bless

        • Dear, Viliami

          Given the seriousness of the situation, I'm pretty sure that the Bible would have outlined for us if the enemy would change his sign around as a means of confusing us. Interestingly, the Bible suggests no such thing. (And, if he were to bother doing it, why only focus on one or two countries vs the bulk of the planet?)

          7th day keepers are known as 7th day keepers because they are keeping the day that everyone in the area that they are recognize as the 7th day.

        • Talofa my dear Viliami,

          You refer to the faithful Sabbath keepers as being totally “faithful to a day dedicated to the pagan god of the planet Saturn”. There is lack of consistency when you reject the local (globally accepted) counting of days while at the same time you accept the appointments, holidays, school and working days/hours and all other events that fall on the different week days counted locally; But at the same time you follow the “pagan” naming of months. Many months are named after Roman gods (Janus, Mars, Maia, Juno). July was named in honour of Julius Caesar and his successor the emperor Augustus renamed August after himself.

          It has already been pointed out twice in this forum that the sun stood still in Joshua 10:13. You then need to go back to the Biblical times and fix that Joshua 10:13 issue and recount your cycle otherwise you are worshipping on a pagan day and openly so, to the amazement of the whole world.

          You say that those keeping the seventh-day Sabbath on Saturday are worshiping on a day dedicated to the heathen god Saturn. Yet you promote worshiping on the day commonly called Sunday and previously dedicated to worshiping the sun. This issue of worshiping the sun is specifically addressed in Ezekiel 8:15-17. It was a problem in biblical times and it is referred to as a great abomination. There is, however, no record of God’s people being turned away from worshiping on the 7th day Sabbath (which falls on Saturday) to another day. This line of argument therefore seems inconsistent to me.

          Many are happily following this discussion wondering that the very church that has been preaching about the mark of the beast is divided, Sunday Sabbath keepers are doing the work of persecution that we have all the time thought would be carried out by other Sunday keepers – when the Sunday Sabbath keepers reach an extent of telling the faithful Seventh day Sabbath keepers to resign from THEIR church. I would rather encourage the faithful to stand firm, after all world wide offerings that we have all been returning to carry out God’s work were used to construct some of those buildings!! Where then is the brotherly love? We are encouraged to accept people as they are and show them God’s love, not to chase them away because we have the power to do so and because they do not do as we do. How then are we different from the worldly dictators we hear of in the news?

          May God guide you and the SM. It is not too late to reverse the erroneous decision made.

          God bless you my dear brother.

    • Viliami writes


      From creation to the time of Jesus, its about 4 thousand years, where the Sabbath day can only be trace by the 7-day cycle day1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Adam never worshipped on a Saturday, nor was Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Daniel, Hosea, Isaiah, Jesus, Peter or Paul.

      So why do we need to abandon that winning formula now? To follow a Saturday Sabbath, a day that is name after pagan god."

      God bless.

      Forgive me Viliami but I need to ask a question????

      What happens in this 6000 year 7 day cycle (2000 years after Christ) when you add a day and make a 8 day week like the Samoan govt did in 1892?

      Does this mean
      (1) That samoa was out of line with creation before 1892 and this day addition brought it into the 7 day cycle? OR
      (2) That the addition of a day in 1892 took Samoa out of line with the 7 day cycle of creation? OR
      (3) Adding and subtracting days to realign with time zones is the correct way to look at this, as we do this all the time when we cross time zones? OR
      (4) It is that important that we keep sunday worship that we disregard the addition of a day in 1892 and we refuse to subtract a day in 2011?

      • That’s fine Lance, or in Tongan, ‘Oku faka’ofo’ofa ‘aupito pe ia Lance

        Let me start with the biggest problem of a 7-day cycle (with no names attached). If we enter an uninhabited new country and we decided to live or inhabit it, how do we know which day is the 7th? No one can tell us that today is Friday or tomorrow is the 3rd day of the week, but we must find or decide which day is the Sabbath.

        Now let’s go back to what we already know, common or already agreed on. We know that the 7th day or Sabbath in Israel is the right one, for Jesus confirms it by keeping it.

        Now let’s move on to the great USA. I also believe that all or most will agree that America has got the right Sabbath too, for whatever reason/s.

        • Now let’s move on to SAMOA (WESTERN). Before 1892, all SDA who enter Samoa unanimously kept the Sabbath on the day Samoa call Sunday. Let me put it below.

        LEFT - SDA label days
        RIGHT - how Samoan call the days
        BRACKET - the date of the week where the change took place

        Day6  Saturday [2/7/1892]
        Day7  Sunday [3/7/1892]
        Day1  Monday [4/7/1892]
        Day2  Monday [4/7/1892]
        Day3  Tuesday [5/7/1892]
        Day4  Wednesday [6/7/1892]
        Day5  Thursday [7/7/1892]
        Day6  Friday [8/7/1892]
        Day7  Saturday [9/7/1892]

        Forgive/ignore me if you find this repetitive.

        The 7-day cycle on the LEFT never change, no matter what the right hand side is doing. The assumption is: we must start off with the right day, which is why I started off with the explanation above.

        The left contains 7-day week and will always contains 7-day week, but the right contain an 8-day week then change to 7-day week the very next week. [It changes again to 6-day week in Dec 2011 then to 7-day week]

        Before the change, the 7th day fell on what Samoa call Sunday, but after the change, the 7th day now falls on Saturday.

        • Now, let’s fast forward to the change in 2011.
        Day6  Friday [23/12/2011]
        Day7  Saturday [24/12/2011]
        Day1  Sunday [25/12/2011]
        Day2  Monday [26/12/2011]
        Day3  Tuesday [27/12/2011]
        Day4  Wednesday [28/12/2011]
        Day5  Thursday [29/12/2011]
        Day6  Saturday [31/12/2011]
        Day7  Sunday [01/01/2012]

        Again, the left side maintain the 7-day week as always, but the right have a 6-day week.

        I hope that I was of any help to your questions, whether it was to your liking or not is another matter. 🙂

        Just a side issue. It should be clear from the tables above, that just because Samoa call Day7 Saturday (between 1892 and 2011) or Sunday (before 1892 and after 2011), does not really matter, from the LEFT SIDE POINT OF VIEW. The RIGHT side can represent Samoa, USA, Australia, NZ or Tonga, and can change as often or in different ways, but will have no affect on the left hand side.

        If the right side has a 10-day week like France in the past, it won’t (will never) affect the cycle on the left.

        God bless

    • Viliami,

      I still don't understand why you believe that counting from one to seven results in Sunday being the seventh day. How do you decide that the Sunday of December 25, 2011, was the correct Day 1 of the Creation cycle, as you call it?

      The way I see it, the Jews have been worshiping on the seventh day of the week for thousands of years, and I believe it to be the same day of the week on which Adam worshiped. That same seventh day is the day before Sunday, according to Matt 28:1-6. That is also the same day that Adventists around the world keep the Sabbath, except for some in the Pacific Islands who worship on Sunday -- out of harmony with the rest of the body of Seventh-day Adventists.

      • Dear Inge,

        Are you sure you are not up for another counting lessons? 🙂

        I think our differences is due to the fact you see names of days such as Friday, Saturday and Sunday and then you try and RELATE/TRANSLATE it backward to the week days (day1, day2, ...) of the bible.

        I can see that this is a very common mistake, for example: you said “That same seventh day is the day before Sunday, ACCORDING to Matt 28:1-6”

        This is so far from the truth, and I am sure a very analytical person such as yourself should easily see this? The word Sunday is not even in the verse? Nor is the word Friday or Saturday. Forgive me for repeating this, but the name Friday, Saturday nor Sunday is nowhere to be found anywhere in the WHOLE bible.

        Matt 28:1-6 (kjv)
        In the end of the SABBATH, as it began to dawn toward the FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

        Do you remember when I suggest that EGW celebrated Sabbath on the 7th day in Samoa, a day Samoan call Sunday? What was your reaction? You were horrified and said, “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!”

        Please spare a thought for poor Matthew? Who is so careful to use Jewish or biblical terms such as “first day of the week”, and “Sabbath”. But here we are 2000 years later and good SDA are stigmatizing poor Mathew and Luke with the pagan god of the Sun and the pagan god of Saturn?

        If you don’t believe me saying that Sunday (Saturday, Friday, etc) is not even mention in the bible, then perhaps you might believe R G White? For this is what R G White said concerning this matter “You stated that Abraham and others never worshiped on a Saturday. Well, of course we understand that the day didn’t have that name in Bible times.”

        When anyone starts to use the bible this way, adding a bid (just one word) here and a bid (one word) there, then any bizarre and unbiblical theory such as SABBATH CAN ONLY BE ON SATURDAY and no other day is acceptable is the inevitable result.

        God bless

        • Whether we use “First Day” or “Sunday,” the meaning is the same, and I don’t think it would bother Matthew all that much to hear us using the modern names for days. I’m also guessing you use the names of the week as given in whatever country you happen to reside in — except when you argue for keeping Sabbath on Sunday. 😉

          We know that the cycle of the week has not been broken since the time of Christ. We also know that He rested in the tomb on the seventh-day Sabbath, which is still kept on Saturday by Jews today and all Adventists, except a few in the South Pacific. Saturday is universally recognized as the day before the resurrection day (Sunday).

          The gospel accounts tell us that the day before the resurrection was the Sabbath day. And in this way, the Bible helps us to know which is the correct seventh-day Sabbath today. It's the day before the day on which Christ rose, which is the first day of the week, generally known as Sunday.

          If there’s a “bizarre” theory, it is the way of re-numbering the days something other than they have been and are currently recognized nearly world-wide, except for areas that have adopted a new calendar in order to make Sunday the last day of the week. But to have Seventh-day Adventists do the same sort of renumbering to make Sunday the last day of the week in order to justify keeping Sunday as Sabbath seems bizarre indeed to the world looking on.

          This sort of quixotic “counting” has put Tonga, some other islands, and now Samoa out of sync with the rest of the Adventist world. While Seventh-day Adventists around the world kept Sabbath on March 3, Adventists in Tonga and Samoa treated March 3 as an ordinary week day and kept Sunday, March 4, as their Sabbath. And for Seventh-day Adventists world-wide, March 10 is the seventh-day Sabbath of the Lord, while most Adventists in Tonga and Samoa will treat it like an ordinary week day, except for a very few who are currently being asked to drop their membership in the Seventh-day Adventist church specifically because they keep the same Sabbath as Adventists world-wide, rather than the Sunday Sabbath decreed by the Samoan Mission and South Pacific Division.

          Who would have thought that such an attack on the seventh-day Sabbath would come from within the Seventh-day Adventist church, rather than from the outside?

          Certainly I remember your suggestion of Ellen White keeping Sunday as Sabbath, and I maintain that she would be utterly horrified to see such a practice ascribed to her, because she kept the seventh day of the week (Saturday) wherever she went, accepting a short week of 6 days or a long week of 8 days with equal equanimity upon crossing the date line as it was recognized at the time.

          And I'm fairly certain that if Ellen White were alive today and visited Independent Samoa or Tonga this week, she would be keeping the same seventh-day Sabbath that the rest of the Adventist world keeps — the day most people call Saturday, falling on March 10, 2012 and every seventh day thereafter.

          Our prayers go up for all the dear people on Tonga, Samoa and other islands who are confused about which day is the seventh-day Sabbath and particularly for those who are keeping the same seventh-day Sabbath as the rest of the Adventist world but are threatened with being disfellowshipped for not keeping Sunday instead.

  127. Dear Viliami,

    It is good to hear from you again. 🙂 I'm glad you didn't just count the days for us once more. 😉 (I was getting a bit weary of the counting lessons.)

    I quite agree with what you wrote:

    It is quite clear that the IDL by nature is relative because Western Samoa has changed it two (1892 and 2011) times already.

    The question that keeps coming to mind is: Does God know where humans (SDA) should change time when traveling around the world? After all, He created this world to be a round world.

    I think most people would say yes.

    Does God then have a way of letting us (SDA) know where to change date/time when traveling around the world?

    God does not require us to have PhD degrees to figure out what day is the Sabbath. In fact, we don't even have to have a high school education to know what day is the Sabbath. All we need to know is that all around the world, the day that falls before Sunday is the Sabbath -- the same seventh day that Jesus kept and the same seventh day that the Jews have kept for thousands of years.

    By the example Ellen White provided for us and by what she wrote, we can also be quite certain that the way to change date/time when traveling around the world is to accept the date and time of the countries where we find ourselves -- as long as they follow the seven-day week convention of the rest of the world.

    Any number of missionaries making mistakes in relating to the date line in the past does not turn their mistakes into facts. And the passing of time does not turn mistakes into facts.

    Western Samoa did not "change the order of the days" any more than you "change the order of the days" when you cross the date line in your travels. You simply adjust to the local time, wherever you are.

    Western Samoa re-aligned itself in reference to the date line, which is similar to a traveler like yourself crossing the date line.

    You point to David Tasker's paper on the SPD site, and I note you have repeated his argument here a number of times. Re-reading the paper just now demonstrates to me the superficial quality of the research that has gone into the SPD decision to recommend Sunday keeping in Samoa. Let's just take a look at a small portion of his paper. Among other things, he writes:

    The annual Samoan independence celebrations June 1 each year feature a longboat (fautasi) race. They race along the coast at Apia and much prestige goes to the winners. Imagine for a moment if instead of racing just across the bay, they go around the world -- some going west, the other going east. It is a close race and they arrive back in Apia about the same time. However, when they compare their calendar watches, those that went west are a day ahead of the people in Apia, and the ones who went east are a day behind.

    I believe he is mistaken on several counts.

    First of all, if the two boats arrive at Apia about the same time, according to Apia time, their calendar watches will still match -- unless they kept resetting their watches along the way. After all, they took the same amount of time. Otherwise some strange spookery took place! No wonder people are confused!!

    Secondly, if they counted sunrises or sunsets to keep time, each boat will be a day out. The reason for this is that the boat traveling west had extra long days, because it was traveling with the rotation of the earth (thus "losing" a day, and the boat traveling east will have had extra short days (thus "gaining" a day, because it was were traveling against the rotation of the earth.

    Thus, according to sunrises or sunsets, the boat traveling east took an "extra day" when, in real time, they took exactly the same amount of time. Counting sunrises or sunsets, they would be a day ahead of Apia time.

    By contrast, the boat traveling west and counting sunrises and sunsets would have had extra long days, and it would be behind Apia time by a day. Thus the boat racers would be two days apart, according to time counted by the sun.

    Perhaps this very old description of the "Circumnavigator's Paradox" by a Kurdish historian named Abu Alfida (1273-1331) is clearer than my explanation of David's illustration:

    Let us assume that it is possible to make a journey around the world. Suppose further that three persons meet in a fixed place -- one then sets off to the west, another sets off to the east while the third remains where he is and waits for the other two to complete their journey around the world. The one who set off to the west will return from the east while the one who set off to the east will return from the west. But the one who traveled to the west will have lost a day while the one who traveled to the east will count a day too many.

    Indeed, the one who traveled to the west (we will assume it takes seven days to travel around the earth) walked in the same direction as the Sun, so for him the Sun set a seventh part of the day later each day. This, at the end of seven days, made a full revolution, or a full day.

    The one who traveled to the east pursued a direction opposite to that of the Sun, so for him the Sun set a seventh part of the day earlier each day. This, at the end of seven days, made up a complete day which obliged him to count an additional day.

    Thus, if the day of departure was a Friday and the day when the travelers met again was the following Friday, as counted by the person who had remained stationary, the one who had traveled to the west and returned from the east will reckon it to be a Thursday, while the one who had traveled to the east and returned from the west will reckon it to be a Saturday. The result will be the same, if instead of several days, the journey around the world had lasted months or even years. (Quoted in "A History of the International Date Line"

    Another mistake in the Tasker paper is this:

    This strange phenomenon was discovered when sailing ships first sailed completely around the globe. Those early sailors who circled the globe towards the EAST found they had LOST a day when they returned home, and those who sailed WEST found they had GAINED a day on their return. It depended on whether they went in the same direction as the movement of the sun, or against it.

    This explanation is exactly the opposite of what really happens: Because the days are shorter traveling East, against the rotation of the earth, early sailors who circled the globe in an easterly direction GAINED a day! And those sailing in a westerly direction LOST a day! (This is easy to verify by searching the internet. See, for example, "The International Date Line FAQ" is the US Navy Observatory website" That means, of course, that the explanation of the boat racers is equally wrong.

    The rest of the paper is just as much mistaken, but we shall leave that for another time. After reading such research, no wonder people are confused!

    • Dear Inge,

      It’s good to be here, and I hope all is well in your part of the world.

      Like all illustration, the story of “boat racing – East, West ”, is to make a point. One can pick apart the story or illustration, but the POINT or FACT still remains. Just for illustration: take the opening story told by R G White at the beginning of this thread. There’s a father and a son (Jonathan), where the son is asking the father all kind of questions about the day of worship. I could quite easily find many faults with this, for example, what about the wife and mother of Jonathan? And the other 9 kids? Who are going to the Sabbath on a day Samoan call Sunday (Samoan usually have many kids, not just 1 🙂 ), but I don’t . Why? Because I can see what R G White is getting at? The story is not the point R G White is trying to get across, but is only a vehicle he is using.

      It is the same with this story of boat racing. And I agree with your assessment, but like I said, this story is not the point the writer is trying to get across. So why am I saying this? Because I believe you may be missing the point, by going after the story/vehicle?

      The point?

      SDA who went to Samoa (land or sea) before 1892, unanimously worship (Sabbath) on the day Samoan call SUNDAY.

      • 1888 - George Tenney
      • 1891 – Ellen G White (on Samoan water)
      • 1891 - Joseph Marsh (on Samoan land)

      God bless

      • Viliami, the boat racing would have been a good illustration to clarify why we have a dateline. And that's what it was evidently meant to illustrate, except that the author got most of his facts wrong -- causing confusion, rather than clarification.

        Unfortunately, your "point" is also somewhat lacking. You write that in 1891 Ellen White worshiped on Sunday (on Samoan water). That seems to be an imaginary tale. She kept the Sabbath when it was Saturday according to ship time. It sems that naval time is not always the same as time on land. When ships dock they will go by the time on the land where they dock -- as all sensible people do.

        Could you please document George Tenney's being on Samoa in 1888, even if you can't document his Sunday keeping? (The"George Tenney" that would be the most likely candidate would be the George Tenney who was in charge of the publishing house at Melbourne when Ellen White was in Australia.) I'm really interested in documenting the history of the Sabbath in the South Pacific.

        This is what I found at the SPD website:

        The first Adventists arrived in Samoa on the Pitcairn in 1891. The missionaries hired a house for three weeks and delivered religious books.

        The Pitcairn stopped again in Samoa four years later on October 22, 1895.

        That doesn't seem to make allowance for George Tenney in 1888. Was Joseph Marsh the missionary who arrived on the American-built Pitcairn in 1891? If so, it would be natural for him to be keeping American time.

        I am not convinced that ancient mistakes become truth with age. Truth must be based on something better than a couple people believing something to be so.

        However, you are inadvertently stating that before 1892, the Samoan 7-day cycle is just what it is now. So it is more likely to be the cycle that can be traced back to the time of Christ --and you have made the point that an uninterrupted cycle is important. Thus, according to your own argument of an uninterrupted cycle, Samoans should have been worshiping on the day that is currently called Saturday all along.

        Seems that this post is long enough already and further critique of David Tasker's paper will have to wait for another time.

  128. Talofa. I must concur with the rational explanation Inge has given above. I especially think something she said bears repeating:
    "Western Samoa did not “change the order of the days” any more than you “change the order of the days” when you cross the date line in your travels. You simply adjust to the local time, wherever you are."

    If you picture Samoa as a traveller which has travelled across the dateline (twice now) then it becomes easy to see how adapting to the time on the side of the dateline you now occupy will serve to keep us in harmony with the commandment to keep the Sabbath on the seventh day. Remember too, as my aunt who was a Sabbath School teacher used to say, "They are the Ten Commandments, not the Ten Helpful Suggestions."

  129. The link given by Viliami to the "history" of Samoa is interesting but the conclusions are preplexing. The history simply shows WHERE the missionaries were coming from, not that Sunday keeping churches were keeping Saturday in Samoa or Tonga.

    "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."

    That's not surprising at all -- The Adventist came from America and couldn't understand why Sunday was on his Saturday in Samoa.
    This just goes to show that in 1888 Samoa was operating in the same time zone as Australia. (Not on the American side of the timeline) The same as it is now in 2012.

    Quote: "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."

    Once again we find the ship which was built in California, with its American captain and crew being surprised to see the London Missionary Society (a Sunday keeping society) in Samoa worshipping on Sunday (which he thought was Saturday).
    Again -- obviously Samoa was operating in the same time zone as Australia. (Not on the American side of the date line)

    Quote: The “Pitcairn” also visited Tonga briefly in 1891. Again literature was sold and distributed, and again the visiting Adventists found that the Methodist Churches in TONGA were worshipping on the 7th day but were calling that day SUNDAY."

    Same thing -- The Methodists (a Sunday keeping Church) in Tonga were worshipping on Sunday which the Americans thought was Saturday.
    Again simply showing these islands were operating on the Australian side of the date line.

    In 1892 the king in Samoa, Malietoa Laupepa decided that Samoa should be in the Western Hemisphere with the USA. So this was NOT the true position that was established from time past but a NEW position due to American influence -- this was an imposition -- The first CHANGE. Of course the American missionaries were comfortable with it because it coincided with America's position, but it is NOT the original day that WAS Sabbath or Sunday on the islands.

    I find it most strange that the author of that article tries to say all these people (Sunday keeping churches) were worshipping on the 7th day Sabbath prior to these Islands changing their times. Why does the author refuse to acknowledge the OBVIOUS! These Islands were all on the Australian side of the dateline before America pulled them over to their side.

    So now -- they are back in the time zone where they were before American (or England claiming to be the center of earth's time) intervention. If anyone wants to be consistent with the historical placement they should be welcoming the change back, not trying to continue in the changed times.

    • Dear Ulrike,

      I believe the confusion can be easily lifted if we can see that there are 2 parties here, with 2 different 7-day cycles?

      When SDA missionaries enter Samoa before the IDL change in 1892, they knew exactly where Saturday was, but DELIBERATELY choose to rest (Sabbath) on the day the Samoans call Sunday, and for good reasons. They, like many good SDA today believe that the 7-day cycle of the bible is INDEPENDENT of the pagan named 7-day cycle. They decided this is where the Sabbath is, but this day is called by the local/Samoan Sunday.

      So before the change in 1892, SDA worship (Sabbath) on the same day as all the other Churches in Samoa. That’s right, SDA, Catholics, Church of England, LDS, etc all worship on SUNDAY in Samoa. We understand why the other churches worship on Sunday, because they are faithfully following the pagan name day call Sunday, whereas SDA are quite different, for we don’t follow the pagan name day call Saturday, but the bible name day call the 7th day.

      Fast forward to 2012, the SDA are doing exactly the same thing, worshiping on the same day (technically it’s not the same day) as all the other churches, and that day is? SUNDAY (big part of Sunday and a small part of Saturday).

      Sunday worshippers are observing a great portion of the 7th day of the bible, or in another word, Sunday is now placed on top of a big part of the 7th day of the bible.

      God bless.

      • Well, Viliami, I suppose one could reason it that way. But the reality is -- one group (the original group) was counting 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, based on the fact that they came to the Islands from the Eastern Hemisphere of the globe, while the missionaries in the historical quotes came from America (the western Hemisphere).
        Each group was counting 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, to determine their seven day week, both were right according to the Hemisphere from which they arrived.

        Did you know there were American missionaries that went as far as the Philippians and carried their seven day count with them, putting the Philippian Islands a whole day out of time with the nations around them? That doesn't mean these American's were carrying the correct Sabbath with them. It just means they wanted to be in with American time even though they were in the eastern hemisphere.

        The problem isn't with counting to seven. The problem is that at some point in the Pacific there is a dateline. It is real even if it's exact location is arbitrary.

        Personally, I think if anyone wants to be technical as to where the dateline is Biblically, then the Prime Meridian or line 0 should be in Jerusalem, not in Greenwich England. Jerusalem was God's center in the past, and it will again be God's center when the New Jerusalem descends upon the earth.
        This places the dateline about 35 decrees closer to America. It would put Alaska in the eastern Hemisphere as well as the Hawaii and Samoa etc.

        Actually Alaska WAS in the eastern hemisphere until just over a hundred years ago when America bought Alaska from the Russians. Americans record this date as Friday 18 October 1867, whereas the Russian governor would have recorded it as Saturday.
        So many of these Islands and even Alaska were on the seven day eastern week UNTIL America pulled them over onto the American seven day week.

        Now you are saying the American seven day week is the creation week for these Islands, they must count their days in accord with America? -- I'm not at all convinced. The day may have begun in these Islands, not ended - thus they would count their seven days according to the eastern hemisphere.

        I think the American (western hemisphere)day (with its seven day week count) ends somewhere off the American Pacific coast, and there the Asian (Eastern Hemisphere) seven day week count begins. The western hemisphere being west of Jerusalem, the eastern hemisphere being east of Jerusalem.

        So - I find the new position of the timeline for Samoa is closer to the ideal and I definitely support those who worship on Saturday.

        I also find the advice of our pioneers is to accept the international dateline where it is placed, to avoid confusion, for we don't really know exactly where in the Pacific it is.

      • Viliami said: "They, like many good SDA today believe that the 7-day cycle of the bible is INDEPENDENT of the pagan named 7-day cycle."

        Viliami, I agree with those who have already pointed out that the secular names do not impact the cycle in any way.

        Based on the premised you have stated, could you please answer the following questions?

        If, as you say, there are many good SDA that believe that there are two 7-day cycles, and that these cycles are completely unrelated or independent of one another, then why is it that on over 99% of the planet, the 7th day Sabbath also coincides with what English speakers will refer to as Saturday?

        How could such alleged independence lead to such consistent synchronization of the day that people call Saturday with the Biblical Sabbath in almost every single country of the world?

  130. Dear Viliami,

    I hope that you are well. Your fervour is commendable.

    You stated that Abraham and others never worshiped on a Saturday. Well, of course we understand that the day didn't have that name in Bible times. On the other hand, whether we see the name as a pagan incursion or as relatively harmless, it seems to be a fact of life that people have chosen to use "Saturday" as the present-day name for the 7th day of the week. All of our SDA evangelists preach that our present weekly cycle can be traced back to well before the time of Christ. So it would appear that our current "Saturday" is indeed the day which Abraham and the others observed as God's holy Sabbath.

  131. Viliami

    Malo Lelei

    You must have been busy with your research, hehe -- as long as you don't quote Dr. Tasker as exposed by Inge.

    Just reading the above posts. Especially Ulrike suggests the early missionaries, mainly from the US, weren't familiar with the idl & got the locals to worship on Sunday by mistake.

    Samoa's case is a cover-up of the earlier mistake in which the church, through the local Samoa Mission, are applying unchristian tactics to achieve their plan.

    SPD and GC, do the right thing -- stop wasting the church's and members' precious time and resources because of your poor decisions.

    • Dear Jenkins,

      When you say that those early (American) missionaries to the islands were unfamiliar with the IDL, I feel that this is likely an overstatement. I think one must bear in mind that these missionaries arrived in the islands shortly after the 1884 conference, where an international committee had coined the misnomer, “International Dateline.”

      While the 1884 committee stopped short of forcing their ideas on any unwilling societies or governments, I believe it is clear that they intended to promote a uniform date line adhering closely to the 180th meridian. Persuaded by American traders, Samoa co-operated with this effort in 1892. The fact that they chose to implement the change by repeating Monday, the 4th of July, may support the thought that the American public was foremost in adopting and promoting these new ideas for the date line. From the comfort of an office chair in the U.S.A., it must have been very easy to ignore all of those “messy” little Pacific islands, and to wax enthusiastic about how convenient it was that Greenwich had been chosen as the international mean time, and that the opposite (180th) meridian just happened to run right down the middle of the broad Pacific.

      Of course this dream, this theory or doctrine of the date line, arose from secular society. It had absolutely nothing to do with religion or the Bible, nor was it based on any real natural phenomenon.

      When we read, in the published SPD documents, about various parties and individuals visiting Tonga or Samoa, and noting that the “wrong” days were being observed, I’m not sure how well documented these stories actually are. Nevertheless, to the extent that the stories are factual, it should be clear that the parties involved had unfortunately bought into the secular (American?) date line theory or doctrine. Only thus could the Asian week have been deemed “wrong,” or incorrect, if observed in Samoa before 1892 (or in Tonga). Again, there would have been no basis whatsoever for calling the Asian week in Samoa morally wrong! Nor was there ever any religious or Biblical basis for promoting the 180th meridian as an absolute standard. It was evidently just the way most Americans were (arrogantly) thinking at the time.

      So, yes Jenkins, it does seem clear that those early missionaries lacked a clear understanding of the IDL. To say that they got the locals to worship on Sunday “by mistake” strikes me as quite an understatement. It was unquestionably a massive blunder. To cover it up would require elevating the 180th meridian to the level of a virtual divine institution – at the very least, a natural phenomenon – which is what we seem to find in the SPD documents. I second your call for our church leadership to turn around and just do the right thing.

    • Talofa Jenkins,

      Thanks for your translation of the letter by the president of the SM, Uili Solofa.

      I guess, time will tell what will become of this situation? But we know that the Lord will be vindicated in the end.

      I am having a stomach ache laughing at your comment to the SPD and GC, which is seconded by R G White and supported by John Wallace. I hope they will see your comment (and others) as I do?

      These men and women are our leaders; we (you and me) chose them. In another word, God chose them. Why did we choose them? Because we KNOW they are let by God’s Spirit. Let’s continue to trust them and support them after all we trusted and supported them in the first place.

      God bless

      • Dear Viliami, I'd like to point out that God also chose King Saul. And, for that matter, King David.

        Was the numbering of the people as recorded in 1 Chronicles 21 in accordance with God's will simply because God had chosen David?

        The Bible is full of examples of people who were chosen by God -- sometimes very directly -- and then either made mistakes or completely abandoned the path.

        We don't believe in "once saved always saved," nor should we accept the premise that "once chosen = always correct." That's why the Bible tells us, "if they speak not according to this Word..."

  132. Brother Viliami, Limoni, and others.

    There is a lot the church leaders have to answer for in how they arrived at their decision. I am suspecting that because the powers that be had not corrected the Sabbath issue in Tonga as they should have years before, they have decided to drag Samoa into those same “questionable” and “suspicious” interpretations to justify their past decisions.

    I also find the Scripture texts, Spirit of Prophecy quotations, and the logic of the arguments used to support Samoa keeping the same Sabbath as Tonga to be unsound, unconvincing, and illogical. The arguments used raise a lot more questions than answers. May be you can help me with some of them.

    1) Can you show me in Scripture or Spirit of Prophecy (or other) where the 180° longitude line is mentioned as a God-ordained dividing line for the start and the end of what we today would consider a day? Can you pinpoint for me from the World Atlas also where the daily and the weekly cycle for Creation started? A Garden of Eden Date Line if you like that would confirm this “supposedly” unbroken cycle or sequence of days from creation, down to Jesus, and now to Samoa in 2012 argument that the Samoa Mission and the SPD are trying very hard to defend.

    3) If Samoa and Tonga have got the "7th" day of the week correct based on the 180° line, then any SDAs on parts of the Fiji Islands (e.g Taveuni ), parts of New Zealand (e.g. Chatham Islands?), parts of Russia (e.g the Chukchi Peninsula) which are on the east of the 180° line would be observing the wrong Sabbath day for they would be or are currently keeping the 7th day Saturday Sabbath with Australia and NZ who are on the west of the 180° line, when they are actually geographically positioned on the east of the 180° line.
    On the other hand, any SDAs in some parts of the Kiribati (e.g Tarawa) and parts of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, would be keeping the wrong Sabbath also for they would be on the west of the 180° line, while observing the same 7th Day Saturday Sabbath as the countries on the east such as Canada and the USA. Can you respond to these very clear inconsistencies? It seems the SPD is happy to accept the IDL as the measure for such places as Fiji and NZ, while insisting on the 180° for other places like Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati. Can someone please explain?

    4) Can you prove to me either scientifically, Biblically, or other, that those rays of the sun actually change from being the “sun rays” of one day to being “sun rays” of the next day as they go over the 180° longitude line? In other words, is there any proof that the sun’s rays change from being Saturday “sun rays” to Sunday “sun rays” as they go over the 180° longitude line? And how does it happen? Last time I checked, the same rays of the sun that shine on Samoa and Tonga on the east of the 180° line also shine on Fiji, NZ and other countries on the western side of the 180° line, yet your arguments seem to suggest that the 180° line is a clear definitive line that clearly, with divine approval, separates the east from the west.

    As I remember it from Scripture, God’s method for measuring a day for us earth-dwellers is from sunset to sunset. Can you prove to me then that the sun actually sets on the 180° longitude line, and that a new day begins there also? Correct me if I’m wrong, but as I remember it, it’s the earth that actually rotates round its own axis and not the Sun that moves, meaning all those places such as Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, NZ, and Australia would be illuminated by the same rays of the sun regardless of which side of the 180° line they are on. Unless of course there is an invisible special wall running down the 180° line that no scientist, nor x-ray machine, nor any other person can detect (except of course for the Samoa Mission, SPD, and some other Adventists who seem to see it with some special secret UV detecting machine yet to be unveiled to the world).

    5) Are all the Christian denominations in Samoa and Tonga now Seventh-day Adventists because they keep the same Sabbath as SDAs and because they all believe in Jesus Second Coming? Like Constantine when he marched his armies through water and considered them "baptised" Christians? Furthermore, what would make them want to change denominations anymore (if that is what we want to do) since there is no more “sign", as per Ezekiel, to differentiate our church from theirs?

    6) Finally what do you make of the many Spirit of Prophecy statements clearly mentioning Sabbath and Sunday as two very different days, with SUNDAY being clearly stated as the wrong Sabbath? Not Seventh-day Sunday, nor New Sabbath Sunday, nor Old-Saturday-New-Sabbath-180-degree-inspired-Sunday, nor whatever other Sunday you wish to make of it, but simply and explicitly SUNDAY as the whole world understands that day to be. For example, “We are to warn men and women against the worship of the beast and his image—against the worship of the idol Sunday.” (Manuscript 110, 1904). Are we going to try and discredit such clear and explicit statements also through some more “questionable” and “suspicious” interpretations? Or maybe the prophet was wrong all along and that we now have new modern prophets who are more correct and more inspired than His messenger?

    My understanding is simple. The IDL was created by man for man’s benefit with the whole world accepting it as the standard line of reference for the measuring and counting of days. Even the SDA church worldwide accepts its existence and follow it accordingly – well almost all SDAs!! I am assuming of course that we in other parts of the world are following the seven-day cycle and sequence of days that the whole world recognises, which by the way uses the IDL as its reference line – and not the 180° line as the SPD and Samoa Mission are arguing. As I’m sure you are all well informed of by now, the reason the IDL was put “by man" through the Pacific is because it is mainly ocean and sparsely populated, and it was and is still the IDL, with all its bends and zigzags, that the whole world recognises and accepts as its standard measure of where a day begins and ends, NOT the 180° line. And because the IDL is the accepted line for the measuring of days by the whole world, including SDAs in all other parts of the world (who accept Saturday as determined by the IDL as the Seventh-day Sabbath), I believe SDAs in Samoa should also follow and accept the IDL as its line of reference, if they are to be consistent with the whole world and with their 17 or so million SDA brothers and sisters around the world.

    Also, the IDL and the 180° longitude line were created by man and can be moved and removed at any time by the powers that be, as we have seen in history. We therefore cannot be overly dogmatic about a line (or lines) we don’t actually see in reality but only exist as geographical markers on a map or coordinates on a GPS unit. The most logical and most commonsensical thing to do then is to follow the seven day sequence of days as determined by the local context, which we know is determined by its position in relation to the IDL, with its seventh day equivalent to be consistent with what all other SDAs around the world accepts as the seventh-day, which would be Saturday in my understanding.

    Looking forward to reading your responses.

    • Brother Siaosi,

      You are raising a lot of questions here, and I may need to write a book to deal with it. 🙂

      I believe I have already deal with the majority of your questions already. You may have to re-read some/all the comments already made?
      I believe there’s nothing wrong with the Sabbath in Tonga or Western Samoa, so there’s no need to correct it.

      Answer for question 1)

      Please read my answer to Andrew Baker and R G White who have already asked me this question.

      You didn’t have a question 2)

      Answer for question 3)

      God’s Spirit works thru people, Godly people. God being a God of order directs the leaders back then to send J, E. Fulton, as a missionary to Fiji. Today Taveuni like Suva and the rest of Fiji is worshiping on the right Sabbath. Why? Because God working thru the General Conference and also working thru the South Pacific Division leaders show/tells us this is God’s will. The same principle applies to Chathan Islands, Chukchi Peninsula, Tarawa, etc.

      Please consider this: Has God now (2012) stopped working thru the GC, SPD, missionaries and great leaders of the past to now work with individuals, such as you, R G White and Andrew Baker?

      Answer for question 4)

      I am taking the OTHER n Biblically (not scientifically): Please look at my answer for question 3, for it is the same answer I would give for your question 4. God is still working thru the leaders of the SDA Church.

      Answer for question 5)

      All other Christian denominations in Samoa and Tonga are Sunday keepers. Meaning they follow Sunday from 12 midnight to 12 midnight. It’s really 1 hour of worship on Sunday for the majority of them. They also are not keeping the Sabbath from Sunset to 12 midnight. God require a 24 hour day from sunset to sunset.

      7th day Adventist in Samoa and Tonga are not Sunday keepers.

      SDA do not keep Sunday from 12 midnight to 12 midnight, rather it is only by CO-INCIDENCE that human 1st day of the week and bible 7th day of the week overlap. Remember Man’s 7th (Saturday) day is also not a perfect match with bible 7th day, for they ONLY PARTLY OVERLAP each other.

      If we say that SDA in Samoa and Tonga are Sunday (sun god) keepers because they follow the bible 7th day which overlap with Sunday (man’s 1st day) then SDA in Samoan and Tonga who keep Saturday are Saturday (god of the planet Saturn) keepers.

      Catholic and LDS (Mormons) both worship on EXACTLY the same day, hour, minute and seconds. Does that keep Catholics away from becoming LDS? Or vise versa?

      I am sure the sign (SDA) is still there.

      Is there some kind of paranoia with Sunday, but not Saturday (favorite)? Both these days are of pagan origin.

      God bless

      • "Please consider this: Has God now (2012) stopped working thru the GC, SPD, missionaries and great leaders of the past to now work with individuals, such as you, R G White and Andrew Baker?"

        Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” John 7:47-49 (NKJV)

        Same argument?

        • Dear R G White,

          I am glad you mention the Pharisees, because in Jesus’ time they got the "Sabbath Day" RIGHT for sure. And it seems that according to you, you are identifying the GC, SPD, missionaries and great leaders of the past with the Pharisees? and may I remind you, that they(GC, SPD etc) still got the Sabbath (Sunday in Samoa) day RIGHT.

          Did you know that the only Jew who was in Western Samoa continue to keep the 7th day Sabbath, not on Saturday but on Sunday, just like the rest of the SDA in Samoa? This is what he said concerning the Sabbath day in Samoa after the IDL change.

          While The Associated Press reported that the Seventh Day Adventist parish in Samatau village will continue to observe Saturday as the Sabbath, Radio New Zealand International indicated that most Seventh Day Adventist churches will adopt Sunday as the new day of rest.

          “I will follow their lead and light Shabbos candles on Saturday night,” Lapushin told JTA.

          In a way, Lapushin's decision seems fitting.

          “When you talk about being Jewish," Lapushin explained, "people say, 'Oh, you're Seventh Day Adventist!'”


          God bless

      • Viliami,
        You cannot say Sunday keeping Tongan and Samoan Adventists do not keep Sunday simply because they begin at Saturday sunset, while saying Saturday Sabbath keepers keep Saturday in honour of the pagan god Saturn. Remember the Sabbath begins the evening before also. You are stating a contradiction. The greatest pagan god is the sun. Why would any Adventist want to keep any part of the Sun-day, paganism's highest day? It is a work day, according to the commandment.

  133. Viliami,
    In Joshua 10:13 . . .
    The sun stood still, adding a whole day to the calendar, but we do not see any record of the believers in those days worshiping on a different Sabbath to preserve the "seven-day sequence." There is a Bible precedent for it. Be true to the calendar, don't call it a change when it is not. Please look at your calendars. The 2012 calendar which you received in 2011 will work fine in spite of the loss of Friday 30th December. There was no calendar change. You can keep all the 2012 appointments you made before that.

    • Dear John,

      Last year Hawaii (SATURDAY), American Samoa (SATURDAY) and Western Samoa (SATURDAY), all worship (SDA-SABBATH) on the SAME DAY.

      This year they (SDA) all still worship (SDA-SABBATH) on the same day, Hawaii (SATURDAY), American Samoa (SATURDAY) and Western Samoa (SUNDAY).

      This is a very good decision by our church leaders of today, not forgetting our pioneers and missionaries of the past who did exactly that. Talk about being biblical and consistency!

      God bless

  134. WOW! I am respectfully amazed by the amount of response.

    Please be patient and allow me a little bit of time, as I will try my best to respond to all your queries.

    God bless

    • Hi Viliami
      I am a fan of yours because you are the only one courageous enough to debate the error of introducing sunday worship into our end time church.While worshipping today we were visited by a mission representative and asked to resign from the church.
      We love our church and the mission will have to disfellowship us if that is what they want.The lighthouse group and Samatau will continue to stand strong for Gods seventh day Sabbath, and will continue to develop small groups and outreach meetings in the near future.

      • Dear Lance

        We have no more or less introduce “Sunday” worship then you introduce “Saturday” worship into our end time church. Sunday is name after the god of the Sun and Saturday is named after the god of Saturn. If anyone is thinking/reasoning that we are worshipping the god of the sun just because we identify Sunday with the 7th day of the bible, then they MUST BE worshipping the god of Saturn by declaring that the Sabbath is on Saturday only.

        But the fact is, we do not follow Sunday nor Saturday, but the 7th day of the bible which can fall on any other day of the week. I hope that you can clearly see that?

        On a more serious note, I am feeling for all of you who are directly (in Samoa) affected by this IDL change. I cannot say that I know how you guys are feeling at the moment, for I can only imagine what you are going thru. I just hope and pray that by God’s GRACE, you will all come together once more just like it used to be.

        God bless

        • Dear Viliami,

          I thought I'd re-visit this question by using different words: Yes, you are keeping the seventh day of the week on the other side of the date line from the one where you live. That is, you are keeping Sabbath according to American time. The problem with that is that, according to local time, that is the first day of the week, also usually called Sunday.

          If there were no society around you that had a set calendar and way of reckoning time, it probably wouldn't matter which day you kept as Sabbath, since either day could be reckoned as the Sabbath, depending on where you begin your counting of days. However when you are living in a society where the day on which you worship is the first day of the week, your witness would appear to be compromised. How can the first day of the week be a sign between you and God and a sign visible to the society where you live, when God asked you to keep holy the seventh day of the week?

  135. I am looking at this discussion and I am saddened at the entirety of it. (I include myself in this analysis).
    What does it suggest about our church and the Sabbath itself? What a burden it has become!; and I think this is as a direct result of our view of the kind of person God is.

    Our view of God has predisposed the SDA church to several pitfalls that I am confident (in a sad way) we won't ever escape. In other words I am extremely pessimistic about it.

    What day is it?
    Is it the right day?
    What times?
    6:00AM TO 6:00PM?
    What about the dateline?
    What to do in Scandinavia?
    Can I cook?
    Can I rollerblade?

    And among other things a perpetual and persistent paranoia about upcoming "threats" (read: Sunday Laws) from every conceivable angle.

    Is this really the blessing God gave to man?

  136. Andrew,
    The Sabbath is very simple. It is the day between Friday (preparation day / crucifixion) and Sunday (first day of the week / resurrection day), observed from sunset to sunset. The Samoas-Tokelau Mission and the South Pacific Division, by their determination that a "calendar change" has taken place, have made it complicated when it is not. Also, by misinterpreting historic errors and adding them into the mix, confusion has multiplied.
    Sorry if you see all these posts as making a burden out of the Sabbath. Unfortunately a lot of irrelevant material is always found in internet forums. They don't represent the views of all church members. the vast majority of members have no concern about this issue because they are not affected. However they ought to show some concern because the decision to worship on Sunday reflects on the world-wide SDA Church.

    • Sunday law is happening all over the world, I just copied this from
      "Prophetic Intelligence Briefings"
      Sunday Rest in Israel? · March 02, 2012

      Israel is still debating making Sunday a national day of rest. A recent meeting of the Tzohar rabbinical organization held and extended forum on the subject to look at social and public angles of the proposal. The Rabbis will decide whether or not to support a new Sunday rest law. Among the focal points of the rabbinical discussion: “will the change reduce the desecration of the Sabbath? How will the move affect family unity? What will be the impact on income and the economy?”

      The idea is also gaining traction in the Knesset. There has been a bill in progress in the Knesset which would make the change and a Knesset committee has been formed to explore the change.

      Those who oppose the bill say that they already have Saturday as a day of rest for family, relaxation and recreation as well as” religious engagement, and that Sunday rest would damage the economy of Israel seriously, since that is the day many people shop. This is a poor time they say to tamper with the economy when the world is economically challenged.

      Because of Muslim people living in Israel Friday is also a day off, mostly. Making Sunday a day of rest, would decrease the work week to four days, increasing the damage to the economy of Israel.

      Making Sunday as a day of rest in Israel would certainly play into the hands of the Vatican whose papal ambition is for global Sunday rest laws."

      Not long now, but true Sabbath keepers have some hard times ahead in the near future. Stay strong, Come soon Lord Jesus!

      • One has to be careful how this is interpreted. The original discussion took place around the middle of 2011 and I have not seen any update on the Israel discussion sites since then. (that may just be that I have not looked hard enough - but the original sources do not seem to have any updates) There has been plenty of commentary on Sabbath-keeping sites though, but that commentary is clearly interpretive.

        Interestingly enough, the Israeli sites that commented on it last year, were not promoting it as a religious holiday but as a day for shopping and recreation. Part of the issue is that people will want to work on Sunday because they will want the extra pay that working on a weekend day entails (I presume that it will be something like x1.5). Depending on whether you are an employee or employer you will regard this as a good thing.

        I wonder if our focus on Sunday laws has sometimes blurred our vision of other closer issues that are affecting our church. A perceived future danger may draw our eyes from a very real danger lurking closer to us. The devil has many devious strategies encouraging us to take our eyes off the light.

  137. Some people seem awfully hung up on the names of the days of the week. I only call Saturday by that name because I need other English-speakers to understand to what day I'm referring. If I'm speaking Spanish, I say sábado which certainly isn't named after any pagan god. Guess where that name came from? The name of the day is not especially relevant, its position in the week is. Ask any Jew when the Sabbath falls. Jews will show no hesitation in equating it with the day English-speakers refer to as Saturday. Keep it simple, people. Talk about the folly of wise men and the wisdom of fools.

  138. The Saturday/Sunday issue continues to enjoy popularity both here and other Adventist forums. I guess that many participate in the hope that they will win the "other" side to their way of thinking. But in reality the scene is set for it to continue for a long time to come. The issues are more complex than most participants understand and include but are not limited to Adventist and island history, Polynesian relationships and culture, Church and constituency expectations and attitudes, and a bit of interference from those who are sure they have the answers.

    I am not going to pretend that I have a solution. I have a view which I would argue is correct, but sometimes being correct is not the answer. I want to highlight the losers in this discussion:

    1) Tolerance and understanding: There are essentially two points of view that I am not going to review here as we all know what they are. There are arguments in support of both. Failing a clear direct voice from God we have to accept that both arguments have their strengths and weaknesses and both depend on the fundamental premise that you start with. Clearly we have to accept that situation and be willing to live with those whose views and conclusions are different. I find it distressing to hear of the threat of disfellowshipping believers because they have come to a different conclusion on this issue. While it would be convenient to have a solution, the current situation provides an opportunity to be tolerant and understanding of one another.

    2) Worship: While arguing about the day, have we lost sight of who and why we worship? In these situations we often become so concerned about the cup that we forget about what it contains. Maybe it is time to return to worshiping the creator in a spirit of sharing and fellowship.

    3) Our Young People: As a lecturer in Australia I am very much aware of the issues and temptations that Samoan and Tongan young people face. Many of them are children of the diaspora, torn between the pressure of family and culture on one side, and the tug of western lifestyle and friendship on the other. During the late teen/ young adult years these folk are making decisions for life. They are making decisions about their continued relationship with Christ against a background of uncertainty about the day of worship. For many of them, the easy solution is to walk away from religion altogether, and I have seen that happen. The obvious but unattainable solution would be to stop arguing and all accept one particular explanation. However, in the light of what has happened, we need to develop an bipartisan approach of teaching our young people to rise above the conflict in order to affirm their faith in Jesus. It does not matter which side is right if your children leave the church and lose their faith.

    My prayer is that in spite of our differences, we will work together in unity in Christ.
    Dr Maurice Ashton

    • Maurice,
      Thank you for your important reminder about valuing people above issues. Many a Tongan youth would have been saved from oblivion if the Adventist Church there worshiped with the world church in honour of the Creator, rather than keeping Sunday in honour of their Adventist ancestors or pioneer missionaries. I don't accept that agreement is unattainable. Many difficult issues have been argued vigorously over through the centuries and agreement has been attained. It seems obvious to me that pride is the great hurdle, but it can be overcome.

  139. Imaging two people who keep the true Sabbath together, then they decide to travel to the other side of the globe. One of them travels east, the other travels west. Both of them are careful to keep track of the seven day cycle and keep the sabbath as they travel. When they meet on the other side, something strange has happened. They are now worshiping the Sabbath on different days. They both can claim that they carefully kept track of the days and they both believe that they are worshiping on the right day. The problem is that as they measure time. both are correct. This problem will occur nomatter where the starting point is on the globe.

    What is happening is that as the person travelling west gets farther away from his starting point, Sabbath is occuring later and later relative to his starting point. With the person travelling east, teh opposite is occuring. His Sabbath is getting earlier and earlier as he travels. Eventually when they get to the otherside, they are both a day out relative to each other. One could claim that the other is keeping Sabbath on the Friday. The other could claim that his friend is now keeping Sunday.

    How do they deal with this? As the sun sets, they are going to have to decide whether this point on the other side of the earth is the first point on the earth that sees the Sabbath or is it the last point on earth that sees the Sabbath. Both could be equally correct. In the case where there is a number of believers involved, it would be appropriate to take a vote on it. If the majority of believers choose a particular way, it would be prudent in this case follow the majority in faith, even if you disagree with the decision.

    The alternative to this is setting up your own church in opposition to the will of God. From what I have read, I believe this is the situation that is happening in Samoa at the moment.

    • I like your illustration Owen. But lets step back and take a panoramic view focusing on the Internatinal Date Line (IDL).

      1) Lets say you flew from Australia (on Saturday) to Hawaii and arrive there on Saturday local time. You would have crossed the IDL as expected. You are then invited to preach at a local SDA church in Honolulu. Would you decline the invitation by saying you have already kept the Sabbath yesterday (Australian time)? Or go about go your normal business since you had your Sabbath? Or keep the Sabbath according to the locals?

      2) Your reference to the "majority of believers" and "follow the majority". I do not know the actual figures for baptised SDA members in Samoa or Tonga. For statistics sake, lets say Samoa has 7,000 on their roll and Tonga has 6,000. The 13,000 out of the 17,000,000 SDAs around the world (who accept the IDL as the starting point for their calendars) comes to 0.000764705 of a per cent. Who are the majority? Are there two standards applied here? One for the 17,000,000 and another for the 13,000?

      Lets pray for the Lord to come soon as we need to keep and uplift one standard for all.

    • Thank you for your comment, Owen. Your illustration demonstrates the need for a dateline agreed upon by the governments of the world. Otherwise, according to your illustration, we would have individuals and groups having widely differing calendars - especially if they travel a lot.
      Because the governments of various islands have decided how they wish their countries to be aligned relative to the dateline, the choice is not left up to individuals or individual groups. You imply correctly that near the dateline, either one of two days may be legitimately be identified as the Sabbath, depending on how a country wishes to align itself to the dateline.
      When a government has made a law aligning its country relative to the dateline, churches do not have the right to renumber the days contrary to the decision of the government. Renumbering the days to make Sabbath on Sunday only causes mass confusion, and "Confusion" is the meaning of Babylon.
      Can a church that participates in the confusion of Babylon call others out of Babylon?

  140. My reason for contributing to this issue wasn't so much for the sake of argument but rather in the hopes that the powers that be would rethink about doing what apparently they have decided to do -- as we see by the following remark from a post by Lance --

    "While worshipping today we were visited by a mission representative and asked to resign from the church.
    We love our church and the mission will have to disfellowship us if that is what they want.The lighthouse group and Samatau will continue to stand strong for Gods seventh day Sabbath, and will continue to develop small groups and outreach meetings in the near future."

    So the tolerance level for people who want to keep the "Sabbath" stands pretty much at zero. The pressure is on to worship on SUNDAY or be cast out of the church that proclaims to keep the Sabbath?

    The Sabbath reaches around the world, starting in the Pacific, travelling around the world and ending in the Pacific. The correct day for the Sabbath is established around the world -- and it is the day before Sunday. Yes, across all seven continents there is unity in the Adventist church on which day is God's holy 7th day.

    But on the Islands there will never be unity in the "Seventh-day Adventist" church as long as the leadership insists the members worship on Sunday. Why? Because there are those who are convicted that this goes against everything most Adventist know about the endtime Great Controversy Issues.

    To achieve unity by the 7th Day Adventist Church forcing out everyone who refuses to accept the 1st day as the Sabbath is actually a very scary precedent

    Yes, this issue is discussed on other forums as well. One I lurked at had several posters jubilant in their ridicule over Adventists prophetic "mark of the beast" doctrine as supposedly being destroyed by what's happening in the Islands.

    An excellent article was written by J.N.Andrews many years ago on this issue. It's too long to post here. But anyone can read it, for it's on the internet. It's called "The definite seventh day". (The link goes to the document in PDF format.) Andrews wrote before the dateline was established and he was defending that a person can be on any of the continents and know definitely which day was the 7th day Sabbath. One of his arguments is that there is only one place on the globe where a person can draw a straight line from the north pole to the south pole without crossing any significant land mass and that this was God's way of dividing the beginning of a day from the end of the day on a round world. That was through the Bering straits -- which I looked up and found to be at about 168 decrees W.

  141. I will keep praying the great Consolator on your behalf my brothers and sisters in Christ. We almost reach our blessing hope. Our loving Savior is coming do not compromise the true Sabbath which is the one that God had created to the false sabbath of the devil which is Sunday the first day of the week. Keep the light shine.
    God be with you all!

  142. This type of thing has happened in the past: Church leaders thinking they're right and using force to prove it. BUT it is so unnecessary! It can all be overcome by surrendering. Admit "I was wrong," ask forgiveness, and do right. We teach this idea every Sabbath . . . or do we?

  143. Owen, a good illustration except for your conclusion: "In the case where there is a number of believers involved, it would be appropriate to take a vote on it. If the majority of believers choose a particular way, it would be prudent in this case follow the majority in faith, even if you disagree with the decision."

    Unfortunately democracy has become the new pope. That's exactly how the Episcopalians ended up with a gay bishop! The question your two travellers would have to ask is, "what day do the locals call today?"
    The dateline determines what day it is, the Bible determines where in the week the Sabbath is - between Friday and Sunday.
    There is actually only one day of the week which could never be Sabbath - that's Sunday.
    You see God could have created the world on the first day and rested the second. But he could not create the world on the first day as well as rest that day. Of course Satan would choose that day as his false Sabbath

  144. Dear Viliami,

    You appear to have a theory concerning a numbering sequence that operates independently of the names of the days of the week. Of course, this implies an “absolute” date line differing from the generally accepted one. From what has been published on the SPD website, I perceive that this theoretical date line corresponds very closely to the 180th meridian.

    There was a similar theory in Ellen White’s day, which she called the “day line theory.” (See The International Dateline) That theory proposed an absolute date line at a longitude running through a particular location in Armenia, where the Garden of Eden was thought to have once been. Because this theoretical date line was to the west of the generally accepted one, the theory would have resulted in “Sunday” being considered the true 7th day Sabbath in all parts of the world between Armenia and the generally accepted date line. This would have included at least Siberia, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, China, India, all of South-east Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, and many other Pacific islands and island groups – now including Samoa.

    The present Sunday theory appears to be exactly the same in principle, the only difference being the extent of the affected area. It would essentially make “Sunday” the true 7th day Sabbath everywhere between the 180th meridian and the generally accepted date line.

    What did Sister White have to say about the “day line theory?” She said that “we are not to give the least credence” to it. She called the theory “a snare of Satan, brought in... to confuse minds.” She said that it would make all of our past history (as Sabbath keepers) “a complete fallacy. “ She said, “You see how utterly impossible for this thing to be, that the world is all right observing Sunday, and God’s people are all wrong.” Please feel free to read more about it at Ellen White's Writings In the “search” box, just type in, “The Date Line Problem.”

  145. When I talk of the majority vote of believers, don't we as a church decide matters of great importance, particularly matters of doctrine, via a general conference session where the majority vote is binding?

    We pray that the God will be present and that he will direct the decisions made by these meetings and we have to take it in faith that He does.

    At the end of the day, the precident is that Samoa has measured the 7 day cycle in line with the western hemisphere and should coninue to do so. I will state my reasons below.

    We seem to get caught up with this concept that sunday worship is the mark of the beast. Mark my words here, it is bigger than this. The Bible says that beast will attempt to change times and laws. Sunday is not mentioned. It was the changing of times and laws by the papacy that resulted in Sunday worship in Europe. It is the changing of times and laws or adhering to these changes in matters of worship that is the mark of the beast.

    The 7 day cycle is already set, you cannot change it. When is the correct Sabbath? The answer is 7 days after the last one and repeating the cycle back to time began. In the case of Samoa, this is reckoned according to the way the western hemisphere measures the 7 day cycle. At the moment it happens that the Sunday keeping churches, by some whim of govenment decision, have aligned themselves to the true Sabbath. But for how long?

    The argument that we need to keep a different day so that we can be different doesn't hold water. This is the thinking process of a pharisee. God makes us different, we dont. It is God working within us and changing our lives to his will that makes us different. Keeping a different day just to be different is self righteousness.

    I know my words are strong. To make it clear what I am saying, changing the day of worship to ANY OTHER DAY as a result of some whim of government who changes times or laws is a sign of receiving the mark of the beast.

    • Owen Brunker wrote:

      When I talk of the majority vote of believers, don’t we as a church decide matters of great importance, particularly matters of doctrine, via a general conference session where the majority vote is binding?

      I believe that is why Seventh-day Adventists keep the seventh day (Saturday) throughout the world.

      Owen, you seem to imply that the Seventh-day Adventist church in general session voted that Seventh-day Adventists in Tonga, Kiribati, Wallis, Futuna, and now Samoa & Tokelau should worship on Sunday, rather than Saturday. That is new to me. Could you please supply the facts regarding this: Which session(s)? Where can the records be found? (I am really interested in the history of the Sabbath in the Pacific islands.)

      Unless you can point me to such a decision by the world-wide church, Adventist believers in these islands are out of harmony with the Seventh-day Adventist church world-wide.

      As for Samoa and Tokelau, it seems clear that the decision seems to have been based on the opinions of a few men whose views you represent.

      FACT: Samoa measured its 7-day cycle in line with Asia before 1892, when it was persuaded by American trading partners to switch to the American reckoning of time.

      OPINION: Samoa should continue on the post-1892 American reckoning of time.

      FACT: Governments have the authority to align their countries relative to the date line, which is an arbitrary line, like the boundaries of a nation. Either side of the line, the seventh day is what is commonly called Saturday.

      Saturday is historically the seventh day throughout the world and therefore the Sabbath day, according to the Bible. On the eastern side of the IDL, Seventh-day Adventists keep Sabbath on Saturday during a time period overlapping that in America. On the western side of the IDL, Seventh-day Adventists keep the seventh-day Saturday Sabbath the same time as folks in Fiji, Solomon Islands, New Zealand, Australia and Asia.

      FACT: The Seventh-day Adventist church does not have the authority to align countries relative to the date line.

      FACT: Refusing to observe the 7-day cycle of the country in which they reside puts Seventh-day Adventists in the strange and confusing position of worshiping on the day that is the sign of the authority of the Roman church, in contrast to the seventh-day Sabbath which God calls His sign.

      FACT: Babylon literally means “confusion (by mixing)” It comes from the name of the tower where the languages of the people were “confused.”

      QUESTION: How can the Seventh-day Adventist church preach the message, “Come out of her [Babylon], my people, so that you will not be partakers of her sins,” when the church itself is confused over which day is the Sabbath?

      • Inge, the document produced by David Tasker states as follows:

        == Start Quote ===================
        The statement formulated by SPD and endorsed by the GC states:
         As there is a general sense of agreement with present practice in the Pacific
        islands, and as any attempt to change would create serious and complicated
        pastoral problems,
         And as the present calendar is subject to change by any future government at
        any time, as has recently occurred in Kiribati
         We recommend that the present practice of Sabbath keeping in the Pacific
        Islands around the dateline be maintained.
        (This statement appears in full in the 2101 edition of the Church Manual in the
        Supplementary pages at the back.
        == End Quote ==================================

        Maybe I am misinformed on this, but doesn't anything placed in the Church Manual have to be approved by a General Conference Session?
        If this is the case, then the topic will have been discussed and decided on by a General Conference Session at some time.

        Inge Anderson Wrote,
        FACT: Samoa measured its 7-day cycle in line with Asia before 1892, when it was persuaded by American trading partners to switch to the American reckoning of time.

        Why has it become a problem now. Surely Ellen White would have said something if there was an issue with using the American reckoning of time in Samoa, especially if it results in keeping the wrong day as the Sabbath? Anyway

        Inge Anderson Wrote,
        FACT: Governments have the authority to align their countries relative to the date line, which is an arbitrary line, like the boundaries of a nation.

        They do at that. They could also decide to call the days of the week any name they wanted to as well if they had the support of the people behind them. But as my God is unchanging, so is the Sabbath. It will always be 7 days after the previous one.

        Inge Anderson Wrote,
        FACT: The Seventh-day Adventist church does not have the authority to align countries relative to the date line.

        Has anyone said that the church does? But the fact remains that a precident has been set in the past with worshipers worshipers remembering the Seventh Day in line with the Western Hemisphere. So keep it that way.

        Inge Anderson Wrote,
        FACT: Refusing to observe the 7-day cycle of the country in which they reside puts Seventh-day Adventists in the strange and confusing position of worshiping on the day that is the sign of the authority of the Roman church, in contrast to the seventh-day Sabbath which God calls His sign.

        The Roman Church claims that they have the power to change the Sabbath as they see fit. In doing so they put themselves above God. It is the same spirit at work that allows the other Christian churchs to re-align their worship day at the whim of a govenment. The Sabbath doesn't change for the whim of anybody. It will always be 7 days after the previous one.

        Inge Anderson Wrote,
        FACT: Babylon literally means “confusion (by mixing)” It comes from the name of the tower where the languages of the people were “confused.”

        Yes, and confusion is caused when short sighted people take objection to something just because they themselves don't like it. Then try to justify their position by all sorts of arguments.

        • Owen said: "The Sabbath doesn’t change for the whim of anybody. It will always be 7 days after the previous one."

          There are clearly documented situations where there are more or less than 7 days between one Sabbath and the next, such as when a person traverses the dateline and either ends up with 6 days between one Sabbath and the other, or 8 days between one Sabbath and the other.

          This situation is clearly a variation of this same concept which could have been applied here without violating any Biblical principles, yet wasn't.

        • Dear Owen,

          You quoted David Tasker's paper:

          We recommend that the present practice of Sabbath keeping in the Pacific
          Islands around the dateline be maintained.
          (This statement appears in full in the 2101 edition of the Church Manual in the
          Supplementary pages at the back.

          Then you wrote:

          Maybe I am misinformed on this, but doesn’t anything placed in the Church Manual have to be approved by a General Conference Session?
          If this is the case, then the topic will have been discussed and decided on by a General Conference Session at some time.

          So you motivated me do a little research.

          It seems that the Church Manuals for the various divisions of the world church all have a supplement specific to the division. The one for the North American division deals with church property ownership, trust services and other matters related to local laws -- things that would vary from division to division but have no effect on doctrine. On p. 19 of the 2010 Church Manual, you will find this:

          In 1948, recognizing that local conditions sometimes call for special actions,
          the General Conference Committee voted that “each division, including the North American Division of the world field, prepare a ‘Supplement’ to the new Church Manual not in any way modifying it but containing such additional matter as is applicable to the conditions and circumstances prevailing in the division; the manuscripts for these Supplements to be submitted to the General Conference Committee for endorsement before being printed.”—Autumn Council Actions, 1948, p. 19.

          Note that these Division Supplements are not voted by the General Conference in session, but are only submitted to the "General Conference Committee" for endorsement. Even the Manual itself does not have the authority of the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy, but the Division Supplements are clearly additions approved by just a few human beings, and human beings can make mistakes.

          Note that the statement approved by the Autumn Council Action of 1948 allowed only for additional matter applicable to the Divisions that would "not in any way" modify the contents of the Church Manual.

          It can certainly be argued that a Supplement that advocates keeping a different Sabbath from that kept in all other Seventh-day Adventist churches on this planet goes well beyond the mandate provided by that particular Autumn Council Action. The SPD Supplement advocate that certain island nations keep not only a different day of the local week, but a different day of the calendar accepted by nations world-wide. That's hardly a minor matter applicable only to the local Division, wouldn't you say?

    • Owen,

      What do you beleive should happen to this group of misfits, who you say have the mark of the beast because they choose not to follow the majority and instead they follow Gods calling and worship on saturday.

      I know it is annoying to be challenged, and have error exposed. Less and less we hear about the 7 day cycle since creation because it has been obvious that as a day was added in 1892 then this is obviously impossible. And why would the Samoan govt have added a day if the country was already aligned with America,OR was it only the church and the missionaries back in 1892 that were aligned with America???

      Now all sunday observance arguements hang on what day the early missionaries thought they were worshipping on.
      We are living at the midnight hour in this dying world and this is not the time to become immersed in sunday worship. I also see how there is no real importance put on outreach and standing out from the churches of the world, because( when we are all honest) there was no outreach anyway.

      This is truly time for revival and refining, like the Israelites of old when false worship was embraced God didnt immediately lift HIS loving hand of HIS people, gradually human nature festered and HIS grace was withdrawn.
      What we must do is forget about argueing about who is right(because that becomes another devils deception)as is well known by now the Lighthouse will never worship on sunday, at our prayer meeting last night we were unanimous in deciding the path ahead of us and the eternal message we as Seventh Day Adventists have to proclaim here in Samoa before it is too late.

      God will harden hearts and HE will open hearts, people on both sides of this debate have to get down on their knees and open themselves up to being used for eternity.

      • Lance Cutts Writes:

        What do you beleive should happen to this group of misfits, who you say have the mark of the beast because they choose not to follow the majority and instead they follow Gods calling and worship on saturday.

        Lance, the decisions a person makes is between that individual and God. Who am I to judge. All I have done is voiced things as I see them. If these individuals happened to turn up to my church, I would give them as warm a welcome as I could with no reservations.

        What saddens me is that from what I can see from the comments, these individuals are separating themselves from the main body of Christ. What can I do about this: I can pray both for them and for me so that we can both gain more understanding; I can voice things as I see them, which I have done; I can pray for the church leaders so that they might receive wisdom in dealing with these matters. Then I walk in faith knowing that these things will be dealt with as God sees fit.

        On a light note, the following link describes how Jews are handling the Samoan dateline issue. 'Dont travel to the Pacific region on weekends' it says.

        • Thank you, Owen. That is exactly what needs to happen. God is in control and HE will continue to use this issue to refine HIS people and to weed out those for whom the Sabbath had just become a weekly habit.

          There is anger and festering which needs to be handed to Yahweh, but there is also revival and a new found urgency to stand for God and for truth. We all knew this would happen in the end times; compromise always comes with a good reason attached.

          I also refuse to judge the people I love, who have made the opposite decision from what I (and my family and like-minded friends) have made, because I don’t put myself above God’s big picture and how HE is developing HIS people in these end times. I am very certain on the Sabbath that HE has called me to uphold, even though it felt at first that we were standing alone. I am also blessed that God has surrounded us with others alive in HIS Spirit who continue to be strong in their decision as well.

          It is also a blessing to be back in New Zealand for Sabbath tomorrow, and to worship with our beloved Nth Harbour family whom we have missed, especially of late, because standing against the majority is never easy.

          Happy Sabbath. God is most definitely in control, and I pray a special blessing to our little group back in Samoa and to Samatau who are facing so much ungodly behaviour over the last couple of weeks.

        • Dear Owen,
          You wrote:

          What saddens me is that from what I can see from the comments, these individuals are separating themselves from the main body of Christ.

          This is exactly how we feel about the approximately 1/10 of 1% of believers in the South Pacific who have chosen to worship on a different day than the world-wide body of Seventh-day Adventist believers. While the world-wide body worships on the seventh-day Sabbath of March 10 this week, the majority of believers in Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga and other islands will treat this day as any other day of the week -- cleaning house, shopping, whatever, and they will gather to worship on March 11, which is Sunday locally and world-wide. It is very sad indeed. 🙁

          The believers on Samoa and Tonga who gather to worship on the local seventh-day (Saturday) are the ones who are in harmony with the vast majority of Seventh-day Adventist believers. They are part of the 99%+ who worship on the seventh day of the week, which is the day before Sunday throughout the world.

          On the other hand, you are correct if you believe the "main body of Christ" to be composed of Sunday-keeping believers around the world. The seventh-day (Saturday) keeping believers are separating themselves from this majority -- as are the rest of Seventh-day Adventists around the world. But there's a broader view yet -- and that is heaven's perspective. I believe that those who worship the Creator God in spirit and in truth on the day He personally blessed and sanctified for fellowship with Him -- that we might remember Him as Creator, Sanctifier and Redeemer -- are in harmony with worshipers of God throughout the universe.

          Please understand that I am not condemning those who worship on Sunday, since God has many true-hearted believers among them -- whether they are Congregational Christians, Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists or Adventists. But He has commissioned His remnant church to issue the invitation to "Come out of her, My people!" (Rev. 18:4) That work will now have to be done by a very tiny minority in Samoa.

          But take courage, dear Samoan believers who worship on the world-wide seventh-day Sabbath: A tiny number with God is always in the majority!

  146. Owen wrote:
    "When is the correct Sabbath? The answer is 7 days after the last one and repeating the cycle back to time began."
    As Lance has explained, that would make Saturday the Sabbath in Samoa now and place them in a position of having been worshiping on the wrong day for the past century.
    The rest of the world has been doing exactly that (keeping the seven day sequence since time began) and Saturday is still the Sabbath everywhere else. Samoa's reckoning of time has simply moved from the end of the earth's daily 48 hour rotation to the beginning, exactly as you do when you fly across the dateline. It requires a simple "skipping of a day" once only, (until the dateline is moved again). The frenzy to keep a mystical 7-day original sequence so rigidly has made fools of our Pacific church members in the eyes of the world. All because they think the government changed the calendar and renamed the days. The Samoan government says it is a dateline realignment, so we Adventists are actually accusing the government of lying.

  147. 119 years ago Samoa transferred to the east side of the international date line in an effort to aid trade with the US and Europe. Was it a wrong move then?

  148. Having just read RG White's blog post, I cannot concur with him more. His thoughts resonate with mine.

    I will summarise my thoughts thus:

    Using the unbroken time legacy that we have of the Jews observing the Sabbath, indeed the CENTRE of timing as far as which day in the week is which revolves around this centrality of the Middle East.

    With the first point in mind, ANY inhabited area on this planet that sits at the periphery of the border between sunset and sunrise cannot be arbitrary. As long as there is a consensual understanding among a people in such regions that a particular point in time is either the day before or after the one that we all use as a point of reference (i.e. the Middle East), then let the Sabbath fall on the SEVENTH day of that given weekly cycle. As much as the Sabbath arrives on my African shores way before it does arrive on YOUR shores, yet, technically, I will have commenced observing the Sabbath while you are still winding down your Sabbath preparations on your Friday, we would be foolhardy to be arbitrary on the international date line ramifications for determining what day it is in inhabited areas lying along the date line.

    Lastly, I have considered the SAME question in the polar regions. While sparsely populated, the Sabbath truth must reach even those people who live beyond the Arctic and Antarctic circles. Twice, annually, they have 24-hours of sun for four months followed by another four months of 24-hour darkness. How would a Sabbath-keeper in those regions keep the Sabbath "from sunset to sunset"?
    Back in March 2010, I compiled a Facebook note to share these insights with my Facebook friends, way before I knew that the Samoan saga would unfold. You might find it interesting reading. Here's the DIRECT link to that note: https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=406014267929

    On a parting note, I would quickly add this observation: if the local Catholic and other Sunday-keeping churches have begun worshiping on the "new" Sunday (the former Sabbath in Samoa), then the MORE reason why the Samoan Seventh-day Adventists should worship on the "new" Saturday (the former Friday). At the end of the day, at ANY given time, other sabbatarians within the same time zone are also keeping the Sabbath. In a sense, this is where the PRINCIPLE of Sabbath-keeping overrides the mere TRADITION. In the same manner in which the Jews used to add burdens to Sabbath-keeping in their time, our understanding of how the papacy corrupted the Sabbath truth cannot be a stumbling block to current technicalities surrounding this shift in times in Samoa. This is TOTALLY unlike shifting the sanctity of the seventh-day Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.

  149. Christianity in the Samoan group dates from August 1830 when John Williams and Charles Barff of the London Missionary Society, sailed from Tahiti, and landed at Sapapalii on Savaii. They found the inhabitants friendly, and thus were able to set up two missions.

    Williams then left the group, but about two years later he revisited it from the Manu'a end, some two hundred miles from Savaii, and was greatly, if agreeably, astonished to find the natives claiming Christianity as their religion and clamoring for a teacher.

    By 1918 the London Missionary Society, along with two other missions -- the Wesleyan Mission (the Methodist Missionary Society of Australasia) and the Roman Catholic Mission had "converted" a majority of the natives to Christianity.

    From the year 1830 - 1892 many Christian church "buildings" or shelters sprang up all over the islands and the worshippers all worshipped on Sunday according to the eastern hemisphere, that was the same time as with Australia and Asia.

    The Islands were experiencing considerable political unrest. England, Germany and America each were contending over the Islands. This rivalry was so intense that war was imminent. At one point the battle ships were assembled to do battle but the war was halted by a hurricane that sent their warships onto the rocks!

    Adventist missionaries E.H.Gates and Ida Gates landed on the Samoa Islands in 1891. They were not permanent missionaries being there only a few months
    He wrote his experience in the Review and Herald
    June 23,1891 p.11 tells of his trip and arrival in Samoa.
    On April 27, 1891 they were in Pango Pango, then sailed to Apia, where they landed May 5 and spent most of their time witnessing and ministering to medical needs.
    In Review and Herald Sept. 22, 1891 Gates continues to tell of his experience in Samoa.
    He gives a brief history of Christianity in Samoa and other interesting bits of information, closing his article with the oft quoted sentence:
    “All on the island are observers of the true Sabbath, thinking it is Sunday. This however
    does not prevent them from doing all manner wickedness…”

    Why would Gates and his wife assume the Samoans didn’t know Sunday was not really Sunday? Why would a VISITOR from America (which is what Gates was in Samoa) assume to know more about what day it was than the people who lived there for generations? Why would the missionaries in the London Mission, and the Roman Catholic missions supposedly not know what day it was?
    Of course the people of Samoa KNEW what day Sunday was, it was Sunday according to eastern hemisphere.

    The Samoans had been keeping Sunday according to the eastern hemisphere for many decades, but now a change was being promoted. Remember this was 1891, just months before King Malietoa Laupepa, persuaded by the Americans, officially accepted a dateline that would place Somoa on the American side. The change had not yet taken place when Gates was in Somoa, but was probably much discussed by American diplomats in Apia. It was a major play for American interest in the Islands. This can be seen by them choosing July 4th for the transition. Choosing to have two July 4th days in one week, celebrating America's big holiday!

    So in 1892 the dateline was changed, taking Samoa out of the eastern hemisphere, mainly due to American Influence.

    The battle over the Island found resolution in the Tripartite Convention of 1900 which partitioned Samoa into two parts – American Samoa and German Samoa (or western Samoa) while Britain received two of the Solomon Islands.
    American Samoa received independent government in 1967 though it continued to be American territory. German control of western Samoa ended in WWI, 1919. New Zealand occupied the Islands from 1919 to 1962 when Western Samoa gained its independence.

    Now in 2011 Western Samoa simply returned to its original position relative to the date line.

    Review and Herald Sept. 22, 1891 p.10
    Review and Herald June 23,1891 p.11
    The History of Samoa by R.M. Watson

  150. Owen wrote:

    "What saddens me is that from what I can see from the comments, these individuals are separating themselves from the main body of Christ."

    This has been said about 7th-day (Saturday) Sabbath keepers many times in the past, but perhaps not from within the SDA denomination. Those who are observing Sunday as Sabbath (as sincere as they may be) would seem to be the ones who are out of harmony with the main body of Seventh-day Adventists.

    Let no one even think of suggesting any action against our Samoan Sabbath Keepers who keep Sabbath on the same day as the Seventh-day Adventist Church world-wide. I believe that, in the South Pacific region, they are a Mordecai at the gate.

  151. I think our observance of Sabbath must be within the context of culture and relative to the culture's determination of Sunday versus Sabbath. The Sabbath is a sign that our Creator God sanctifies us. It is the culmination, rather than the beginning, of the week.


  152. Karl is bang on. Sabbath, a day of rest, not the (Sunday) beginning of the week.

  153. "The mind of Christ..." Jesus told us that we would know "them" by their fruits.

    One of the things that has been quite overlooked (or hurriedly glossed over) in the quest to prove what day is right and whose eternal math or counting methodology is correct, is that of Christian deportment.

    Throughout the entire course of human history, one key thing has always been useful to help identify those who were doing the will of God at any given moment, vs those who weren't -- even when comparing two parties belonging to the same religious system.

    The identifier is this: Who is exemplifying the mind of Christ? Whose behavior is like that of the Lamb?

    Since this entire conflict is ostensibly about commandment keeping, it would do us well to look at two verses: Revelation 14:12 and Revelation 12:17

    As this situation continues to unfold, all of the concerned parties need to prayerfully consider which part they are playing as it pertains to these two verses, and what their selected role says about their source and spiritual leadership.

    HINT: The mind of Christ is only in one of these roles...

  154. In Tonga Seventh day Adventists have been going to church on Sunday's for many decades, due to a similar change in the dateline.
    Tonga is on about the same longitude as Samoa.
    It is logical therefore that Seventh day Adventists should be going to
    church on the same day (ie Sunday) in both countries.

    • Thank you for your comment, Richard.

      Would you be so kind as to document when this re-alignment with the dateline took place in Tonga? (My searching has not turned up any evidence of such a change. Could you at least give us a date when this happened?)

      And if it is "logical" to go to church on Sunday in Tonga and Samoa, why not in New Zealand or Australia? What is the logic for making a distinction?

      Perhaps I should ask a bigger question: God said that His Sabbath is a sign between Him and His people that He is the Lord who sanctifies them. (Ezekiel 20:12, 20) How does that sign stand out when those who profess to be God's remnant people worship on the day that is the mark of Rome's power?

      • Without having read all of the posts,just the main dilemma. Out side of the fact that there had been a previous time change, I think that continuing the present day cycle is the obvious answer. Even if it would now be and ended up as the first day of the week. It's not the name that man has placed on that day but the name that God had originally given. Sabbath

    • Thanks Richard,

      Hawaii, American Samoa and Western Samoa last year (2011) have been going to church (SDA) on the same day; all 3 countries have been doing this for more than a hundred years.

      In Western Samoa (so as Hawii and American Samoa) this year the SDA leaders and church family are still following that winning formula of keeping every 7th day according to the holy bible (Exo 20:8-11), BUT there are those who want to change this winning formula which God has given us. They claim that the SDA church should not follow the bible’s winning formula BUT follow a NEW FORMULA (unbiblical formula) which is “FOLLOW SATURDAY (Sabbath) ONLY”

      Even though the bible from Genesis to Revelation doesn’t say that the Sabbath should be on SATURDAY ONLY, they still quote bible verses such as Luke 23:52-24:1 and Matt 28:1-6 to support a Saturday Sabbath ONLY. What do we say/think of those who are misquoting the bible this way?

      You said “It is logical therefore that Seventh day Adventists should be going to church on the same day (ie Sunday) in both countries.vv” and let me just add on to that by saying that it is VERY LOGICAL to follow the bible’s winning formula of going to church every 7th day, not going to church every Saturday because the holy bible NEVER says that.

      God bless

      • Dear Viliami,

        Richard argued in favor of Sunday keeping on the basis of the tradition of Sunday keeping on the Tongan islands. You appear to be agreeing with Richard, but I don't see you documenting when this re-alignment of Tonga with the date line occurred. Could you document this for us?

        Until you do, I have to believe what I have read -- that the first missionaries who came from America didn't accept the local Tongan reckoning of time. (A similar mistake seems to have been made by E.H. and Ida Gaves when they visited Samoa. See Ulrike's comment above.) The first missionary couple mistakenly taught the Tongan people that Sunday is the seventh day of the week. In other words, the Tongan people were never taught the full Seventh-day Adventist message before being baptized.

        Don't you think it's about time the Tongan people got to hear the full message?

        Keeping the seventh day of the local week, as those keeping Saturday in Samoa are doing is not a new thing. It is simple obedience to the command to observe the Sabbath of the Lord according to the commandment. (See Ex 20:8-11) While the seventh day is called "Saturday" in English, it is called the equivalent of "Sabbath" in many current and ancient languages of the world -- testifying to the ancient history of the true Sabbath of the Lord.

        You might consider keeping Sunday a "winning formula," but it is not keeping the seventh-day Sabbath. Creating a special Adventist calendar that makes Sunday appear to be the seventh day of the week, because Samoa re-aligned itself in regard to the date line, doesn't make it the seventh day of the week. It is still the first day of the week.

        And even if those who worship on Sunday in the South Pacific call it "the seventh day," they are still worshiping a day later than all other Seventh-day Adventists around the world. While Seventh-day Adventists worshiped on March 10, the "seventh-day" Sunday keepers, worshiped on March 11. And next week, seventh-day Sabbath keepers will worship on March 17, while "seventh-day" Sunday keepers will worship on March 18, and so on -- always a day late.

      • Dear Inge,

        You are right, Tonga has never moved the IDL.

        You said “that the first missionaries who came from America didn’t accept the local Tongan reckoning of time.” I believe you may have been misled, and may be let astray by a false idea? Let me explain. When the first missionaries came to Tonga they TOTALLY ACCEPT the local Tongan reckoning of time, for they call Tokonaki (Preparation day) Tokonaki according to the local calendar. They call Sapate (Sabbath) Sapate, Monday Monday, Tuesday Tuesday, Wednesday Wednesday Thursday Thursday and Friday Friday. Did the missionaries ever call Tuesday Monday or Sapate (Sabbath) Tokonaki (Preparation)?

        So my question is: how did you come to the conclusion “that the first missionaries who came from America didn’t accept the LOCAL Tongan reckoning of time.”? Can you show proof of this?

        Remember, that no government have any right to tell us (people) who (how, when) to worship. Even in the great USA, whether you are a Moslem, SDA, Catholics, LDS, Atheist, Buddhist, etc you are free to worship whoever, whatever and whenever you want. I believe this is the first deception that one MUST believe, before accepting and declaring others. The deception “that the first missionaries who came from America didn’t accept the local Tongan reckoning of time.”

        You also said “A similar mistake seems to have been made by E.H. and Ida Gaves when they visited Samoa.” I just wanted to know whether you have consider that maybe, just maybe E.H. and Ida Gaves were right all these years, after all they were filled and let by the Holy Spirit to spread God’s messages/TRUTHS (not lie) across the Pacific. That God through E.H. and Ida Gaves left us a blue print or “winning formular” to follow? That the great leaders of the Samoan Mission, SPD and GC may be right because they all are being let by the same Holy Spirit which let the early missionaries of the past?

        I believe that the Spirit that is leading President Uili Solofa and the Samoan Mission today is the very SAME Spirit that has let E.H. and Ida Gaves more than 100 years ago in the very same region.

        God surely works in mysterious ways, for just like the great missionaries of the past (more that 100 yrs ago), the leaders of today are still being chosen and let by God don't you think? I suggest that perhaps the MISTAKE doesn’t lie with the missionaries and leaders of the SDA church, but somewhere else?

        I wonder if you are still holding on to the idea (not biblical) that the Sabbath cannot be any other day, but the day before Sunday? For you said, the “seventh day is the day before SUNDAY, ACCORDING to Matt 28:1-6.”

        Let me ask you: Which/what bible says that the “7th day is the day before SUNDAY?” for I believe this is one of the ways (deception) Satan has been so successful, because he (Satan) has convinced certain sections of our SDA members that the holy bible really teach that the SABBATH has to be on SATURDAY or the day before SUNDAY. I believe that once anyone believes this deception (Sabbath on Saturday ONLY), other deception is not so hard to accept.

        God bless

        • Dear Viliami Latu,

          Was God leading the Millerite movement when it came to the conclusion that Jesus was coming in the 1843/44 timeframe?

          Was God leading His people when the early Adventist believers originally kept Sabbath from 6pm to 6pm -- for 10 years?

          Does God leading people mean that zero mistakes will be made or that no incorrect conclusions can be reached by those people at any time, or for any duration?

          You have repeatedly attempted to use Sis White as validation for the Sabbath being on a day understood to be Sunday by everyone else. Does the fact that Sis White repeatedly refers to the false Sabbath as "Sunday" have no bearing on your acceptance of that day for worship as it is understood by the local populace? She distinctly ties "first day" and "Sunday" together on quite a number of occasions. Does this not bear any weight in this matter? If the false Sabbath is labeled Sunday, would not the true one always be labeled Saturday (for English speakers, at least)?

          Here are a few quotes:

          The law for the observance of the first day of the week is the production of an apostate Christendom. Sunday is a child of the papacy, exalted by the Christian world above the sacred day of God's rest. In no case are God's people to pay it homage.... {CCh 317.4}

          Dear Brethren and Sisters: I have been much burdened in regard to movements that are now in progress for the enforcement of Sunday observance. It has been shown to me that Satan has been working earnestly to carry out his designs to restrict religious liberty. Plans of serious import to the people of God are advancing in an underhand manner among the clergymen of various denominations, and the object of this covert maneuvering is to win popular favor for the enforcement of Sunday sacredness. {R. & H. Extra December 24, 1889}

          Many who are working for Sunday enforcement have never understood the claims of the Bible Sabbath, and the false foundation on which the Sunday institution rests. And they are blinded to the results of Sunday legislation. They do not see that it would be a blow against religious liberty. But any movement in favor of religious legislation is really an act of concession to the Papacy, which for so many ages has steadily warred against liberty of conscience. Sunday owes its existence as a so-called Christian institution to the "mystery of iniquity;" and its enforcement will be a virtual recognition of the principles which are the very corner-stone of Romanism. {ST, November 28, 1900 par. 4}

          There are many, many more statements of this nature which can be found by searching the https://egwwritings.org/ site. Why did God impress upon His servant to use the term Sunday each time?

        • Dear Viliami,

          If I am understanding correctly, the (Asian) week first introduced to the Tongans by the original (non-Adventist) missionaries from the London Missionary Society went like this:

          First day (called Seventh day by Viliami) -- Sapate (Sabbath)
          Second day (called First day...) -- Monday
          Third day (called Second day...) -- Tuesday
          Fourth day (called Third day...) -- Wednesday
          Fifth day (called Fourth day...) -- Thursday
          Sixth day (called Fifth day...) -- Friday
          Seventh day (called Sixth day by Viliami) -- Tokonaki (Preparation)

          I am using the day number that would correspond to the position of each day in the Asian week, since Tonga is generally recognised as lying to the west of the IDL. However, I am also noting the day numbers which I believe you are using. Am I correct?

          Our readers may note the obvious bias (and I'd say deception) inherent in this system, introduced by those first non-Adventist (Sunday keeping) missionaries. They called the day after Friday (which I believe is the true Sabbath) "Preparation," and the day before Monday (i.e. Sunday) they called "Sabbath!"

          Viliami, you say that the first Adventist missionaries totally accepted these names for the days of the week, and were not trying to push the American week on the Tongans at all. If this were true and correct, then the actions of those first Adventist missionaries to Tonga in accepting and promoting Sunday observance (on the day before Monday), would have been far, far worse than a mere blunder, I must say.

          When we say that those first (American) Adventist missionaries to Tonga were trying to teach the American week to the local society, we are giving those missionaries the benefit of the doubt -- putting the best possible construction on their motives -- and calling their actions a massive (but relatively innocent) blunder. I feel it is my Christian duty to view things in this way, in the absence of conclusive evidence to the contrary.

          Our first Adventist missionaries to Tonga should have accepted the Asian week, and taught the people that Friday is really Tokonaki (Preparation), and that the day after Friday is really Sapate (Sabbath). As I see it, their mistake will still have to be corrected, sooner or later.

        • Viliami,

          The Bible says Jesus was crucified on preparation day -- history proves that was Friday. He was in the tomb during Sabbath -- we know that was what we now call Saturday. Christ rose early on the first day of the week - to deny that the resurrection day was what we now call Sunday, is to place yourself in the realm of fairy tales.

          Inge was right saying the first SDA missionaries did not accept the local reckoning of time. If they did, they would never have reported that Samoa was observing the seventh day Sabbath but calling it "Sunday."

          How do you explain why the majority of your SDA countymen and women living outside Samoa, believe the Samoas-Tokelau Mission has made a mistake by keeping Sunday?

      • I approve on the following of the seven day cycle. I think that the change would be that instead of following another part of the world into a Sabbath they would actually leading the other part of the world in a Sabbath. It is the seven day cycle that is paramount. In this discussion not the name of the day. It would still be called the Sabbath.

      • Viliame and Gerald,

        How do you know that the day the Sunday-keeping missionaries named “Sabate” is the actual Sabbath of the Lord? It is clearly “Sunday” in the rest of the world. (Compare the Tongan calendar with any other calendar in the world, where Sunday-keeping is prevalent.)

        Viliame, the main thing wrong with your "winning formula" is really that it's not found in the Bible. Please point me to any place in the Bible that points to an "unbroken cycle" rather than the "seventh day." I can't find any.

        The commandment in Exodus simply refers to “the seventh day.” The seventh day of what? Wouldn’t it be the seventh day of the week? And, because we have no way of counting back to creation, it is practical to trace the days of the week back to the time of Christ. We know there has been no break in the weekly cycle since then.

        What was the seventh-day Sabbath in the time of Christ? Was it not the day before the day now called “Sabate” in Tonga — the same day called Sunday in the rest of the world? It really doesn’t matter what that day is called in your language, but it is still the seventh day of the week, wherever you are. (In most English-speaking nations, it is called Saturday.)

        An “unbroken cycle” for the seventh day is a man-made rule, not a biblical one. And when it results in people who call themselves Seventh-day Adventists worshiping on the first day of the week, it’s not hard to see that there’s something wrong with that rule.

  155. The article was very confusing to me in that it seemed that the first half of it made a case for following the government and then the application at the concluded the opposite. It said in the first half, “Therefore, I cannot escape the conclusion that the promised Sabbath blessing is bestowed on the basis of our willingness to obey and our sincerity of purpose. Hence, I believe that we need to follow the principles of Romans 13…” Then it qualified that statement with, “going along with the government as long as they are not asking us to do anything wrong.” Is the “government” asking them to worship on “Sunday,” the first day of the week or are they simply saying that Saturday now matches the Saturday of Australia not the Saturday of the U.S.?

    Another point that is confusing is that the article stated, “The Mission administration, after considering the matter, had decided to begin observing Sunday (from sunset to sunset, of course) as the Sabbath.” Did they really do this? Are they keeping “Sunday” as the first day of the week or the new “Saturday” as the 7th day of the week. As far as the people of Samoa are concerned don’t they consider that it is “Saturday” and not “Sunday.” It seems pointless to say they are “keeping Sunday” when the people consider it Saturday.

    The part about this that I find disturbing if it is true, is that they are being asked to “withdraw their membership” (from the e-mail by the SSNET Editor on this) for following their conscience in this? It seems to me that there must be far more than just this issue involved here. When does a church ask you to “withdraw your membership” and for what reasons? Normally the process is dropping their membership by disfellowshipping them which would be done for apostasy or openly living in sin. Are they being accused of “apostasy” for this? I would hope not.

    • Dear Rob,

      Some of the discussion following the article probably made some things clearer, but you can't be blamed for not having read all of it yet. But please do go back and read some more. Some very important details emerge.

      The people who are being asked to withdraw their membership are worshiping on the day that is Saturday according to local time. (That was on March 3, 2012.) Lance Cutts lives in Apia, Samoa, where the Samoan Mission office is located. He shared this information
      in a brief comment. Click here to read it.

      More than 95% of Samoan Seventh-day Adventists in Samoa are now worshiping on the local Sunday. If you'll read the earlier comments you will see the reasons given for worshiping on Sundays are that it is important to continue the weekly cycle from before the IDL change of 2011. (Yet there was a previous change in 1892.) Proponents of Sunday worship also argue for consistency in regard to counsel given to islands lying eat of the 180th Meridian. Unfortunately this results in inconsistency with the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist church world-wide as well as inconsistency with the practice of Adventists during the rest of the week. (They recognize New Zealand days the rest of the week.) Those arguing for worshiping on Sunday consider that it is the new seventh day. Thus they believe they are worshiping on the "correct" day.

    • Dear Rob,

      I am sorry that you have not found things as clear as you might wish them to be. I thought it important to open the subject by writing an article on a timely basis, but subsequent study and interaction have definitely deepened my own understanding of the issues involved.

      Please let me respond to your questions, one by one. I believe that Satan's strategy here (and our biggest potential pitfall) is to lead people to fear a government conspiracy where none exists. What the Samoa government did was really quite harmless, merely shifting the date line -- choosing the Asian week over the American one, where either choice would be valid and entirely within reason under the circumstances. The government was indeed "simply saying that Saturday now matches the Saturday of Australia, not the Saturday of the U.S." Hence, I believe that the principle of Romans 13 applies here.

      As incredible as it may seem, the Samoas-Tokelau Mission leadership (urged on by the South Pacific Division leaders) really did adopt the keeping of "Sunday," the first day of the week, while promoting a theory that would make it the true seventh day. I, for one, cannot give the least credence to their theories.

      As for those who will not go along with this decision, but who insist on continuing to observe the Sabbath from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, yes, they are clearly being accused of apostasy. And just what is the "sin" of which they are guilty? They are not bowing down to the misguided opinions of the church leaders in the region. Thus I have referred to them as a "Mordecai at the gate."

      • Rob, as a church, this is our biggest potential pitfall. It is the soft underbelly of the church, and it's worrisome to me. I cannot tell you how prevalent conspiracy theories are in the pulpits where I live. They are taken as being synonymous with the spirit of prophecy; and there are few who resist.
        Sometimes--just sometimes--church can feel lonely because of this.

        • Hi Andrew,

          Ultimately, we need to make our calling and election sure with God. Fellowship is important, but a right relationship with our Savior, and harmony with His commandments is even more important. He will not only be a friend to us, He can connect us with the right people, too...

    • The day to the world would be Sunday but to a Sabbath keeper it is still the Sabbath. In all actuality Many of the Seventh Day Adventist church don't use the word Saturday on Sabbath,they use the name that comes from the Bible, Sabbath.

      • Gerald,

        Whether or not members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church use the word Saturday in conjunction with the Sabbath, can you tell me anywhere on the planet where the 7th day is understood to be different from what an English speaker would call Saturday?

        Also, in what way is Sabbath-keeping a memorial of the 7th day, if it is celebrated on what everyone else knows to be the 1st day?

  156. My Brothers and Sisters

    Are we creatures of habit and tradition? Or do we follow the simple beautiful teachings of Jesus. If we allow the enemy to divide us on this point, the house will not stand. What is Friday night begins the Sabbath through Saturday night. . The Sabbath is Gods mark which we must keep.

    Simply observe Saturday the day of Sabbath.

  157. Quote from Andrew Baker: "The identifier is this: Who is exemplifying the mind of Christ? Whose behavior is like that of the Lamb?"

    Revelation 13 depicts a system that shows some characteristics of the Lamb, with lamb-like horns--in profession pure, gentle, and harmless-- that speaks as a dragon.
    What is the characteristic that makes it speak like a dragon? Forcing worship?

    When sanctions are imposed on those who refuse to worship on Sunday (that's how we've always understood it)

    So if we follow the above counsel -- which side is following the true LAMB? And which side is professing to be lamb like while threatening action against those who don't worship according to the decision that Sunday is God's day?

    Something to think about.

  158. Legalism has always been rampant in the Adventist religion and always seems to claim a prestigious position in the forefront. Perhaps we should read Pauls writings again where the love of our Lord Jesus comes first. If you love him, you will keep the 7th day Sabbath. The I'm right and you're wrong attitude has been with my fellow Christians all my life because they try so hard to attain perfection. The day we worship on sets us apart because of our LOVE for our Lord. The Seventh Day has been blessed and hallowed, never the first.

    • According to the church members, they are worshiping on the true seventh day--regardless of what the world says or calls it.
      I think we as a church have painted ourselves into this corner by ourselves, because we have lost (if we ever knew) the meaning of the Sabbath day a long time ago.
      The day that the Sabbath became all about us (and how peculiar/faithful we are), was the day we headed down that pathway.

      I think we should just leave things be; and create a foundation for the next generation not to make such a mistake again. But imagine that--these people were misled (in my humble opinion) by their own piety; which give you insight into our church's peculiar proclivities. Our church always, when it falls (more often than not) falls down here.

      • We've painted ourselves into corners by spending too much time trying to prove our faith with spurious reasoning, rather than relying upon the simplicity of the gospel and the clearest evidence from God as to what is right and what is wrong.

        If the folks in Samoa have decided to ignore the dateline change, then how do they behave when they visit another location which is *now* on the same side of the dateline as they are, but would have been on the other side pre-2011?

        • We’ve painted ourselves into corners by spending too much time trying to prove our faith with spurious reasoning, rather than relying upon the simplicity of the gospel and the clearest evidence from God as to what is right and what is wrong.

          I agree completely.

  159. There is no known connection between the current Sabbath day and the day that was blessed by God as the Sabbath of Genesis 1,2. As a result the argument over which day is the pure Sabbath is a legalistic argument that makes no sense. The British Calender Act of 1751 declared that 11 days would be dropped from the calender so that the British would adopt the Gregorian calender which the French had long adopted as their own. The Gregorian calender, commissioned by Pope Gregory in 1582, sought to make corrections in the difference between the movement of the earth around the sun and the days of the week. The Gregorian calender was a correction of the Julian calender which was off by 11 1/2 minutes a year. Over time, the Julian calender was off by 10 days, so that there was a disconnect between the movements of the earth and how days were counted. From the Gregorian calender, we cannot trace back which is the "real" Sabbath, as days were arbitrarily dropped to make the calender whole. We are admonished to keep the "Sabbath" holy. We know that what we call the Sabbath has had many different days of the week, but the admonition remains the same.

    • Days of the week did not change in the switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. "Britain and the British Empire (including the eastern part of what is now the United States) adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, by which time it was necessary to correct by 11 days. Wednesday, 2 September 1752 was followed by Thursday, 14 September 1752."

      Note that Wednesday was followed by Thursday in the above quote.

    • Sorry to be picky, but it is 10 minutes and 48 seconds. Those 32 seconds will add up over time.

    • The statement by Henry Felder “From the Gregorian calender, we cannot trace back which is the “real” Sabbath, as days were arbitrarily dropped to make the calender whole.” is incorrect. While ten days were dropped from the calendar, the sequential days of the week remained unchanged. Besides that, when in doubt, all one has to do is inquire from the Jewish community as to which day of the week it is, as they would have no regard to any other worldy calendar that did not retain the same seven day week cycle. The Sabbath remains the same and is traceable.

  160. I am sorry but, after reading all of the above article and comments that followed, I am still unable to clearly "label" each persons comment as pro or con in this very "human" conflict. I call it a human conflict because God is way above all our thoughts and battles. It seems to me that God has paid an enormous price to give us freedom and assure us of our on going freedom clear into our future eternity. Freedom from what? Freedom from the accusations from our brothers and sisters in church and freedom from our fellow man's attempt to force our behavior and ultimately freedom form the "accuser of our brothern," the devil. So to me the line is very clear. Does God or the devil force us to do anything? Our Sovereign God has all the power and authority to "command" anything he wants and even enforce it but, God's demonstrated behavior throughout the bible seems to indicate that he wants to win our allegiance not force our allegiance. Does the devil want to force our allegiance? So are we "Christ like" or are we "devil like" in the way we try to force or manipulate others to behave the way we think they should. In the end of time does not "force" set the demarcation between the antichrist and the true Christ?
    At some very human level, why do we feel our selves under some kind of a threat over the Sabbath. Is Sabbath observance really a heart issue or is it a communal Church issue. Would any of us be lost if we ever had to change the name of our Church from the "Seventh-day Adventist" Church to some other named banner that might better underscore our immense desire to have deep and heart level, even an intimate relationship with Our Heavenly Father?

  161. I have recently returned to the SDA faith after a 38 year absence and had left the church at about 9 or 10 years of age. I am being feed milk as a new christian and not meat as I learn and feed on Gods word.
    This is food for thought and something to ponder on.
    We can worship our Creator on everyday of the week and we should be, even Sunday. The Bible tells us that the whole world will be forced to worship the image of the beast. The antichrist is going to pick a day and it will be inforced around the world crossing international date lines even with changes such as in Samoa. We will know then, when it is being enforced which is the real Sabbath day. But as I said before we should worship our Creator everyday and yes he made the Sabbath day extra special by blessing and hallowing it. But what if there was an antisabbath law, in this day of globalisium and the forming of what is termed a New World Order or One World Order, we are told we have to work together for the common good. What if the real issue is about having to work on the Sabbath day which the Lord has asked us not to. In the Bible when Gods people rebelled and were taken captive they were forced to labour on the Sabbath to make bricks and collect straw etc, you could possibly say that there was an antisabbath law.
    Let's say we were forced to worship on everyday of the week which shouldn't be to much of a problem, as that should be what all true Christians are doing except for the fact that God would never force anyone, he gives us free will and asks us and draws us t